What do anemia and diabetes have in common?

Understanding the Link Between Anemia and Diabetes

Nov 14, 2022Shopify API

Having one may put you at a higher risk of the other—here's what you should know. Diabetes and anemia are two conditions that, at first glance, might seem unrelated. However, these two disorders have a closer link than most people might think. That’s not to say that everyone who has iron-deficiency anemia will develop diabetes or vice-versa, but having one could very well increase your risk of the other if you don’t treat the root source of the problem.

In this blog, we’ll explore the intricate relationship between diabetes and anemia, delving into how diabetes can increase your risk of developing anemia, the effects of certain diabetes medications can have on hemoglobin levels, the potential for anemia to influence blood glucose readings, and effective strategies for managing both conditions effectively.

1. Increased risk of anemia and diabetes 

You're probably aware that diabetes can wreak havoc on various parts of the body, with the kidneys taking a significant hit in severe cases. This damage often necessitates dialysis treatment for those affected because their kidneys struggle to effectively remove excess waste from the bloodstream.

The connection between diabetes and kidney health boils down to how high blood sugar levels over time can either directly damage the kidneys' intricate network of blood vessels or lead to elevated blood pressure—both scenarios spell trouble for kidney function.

As a result of this damage, there's a notable drop in the production of erythropoietin, a critical hormone that signals your body to ramp up the production of red blood cells. It's simple: with less erythropoietin being produced, your body ends up making fewer red blood cells. This dip in red blood cell production places you at a higher risk for anemia, highlighting the importance of managing diabetes not just for its direct effects, but also for its role in potentially triggering other conditions like anemia.

2. Some diabetes medications can affect your hemoglobin levels

Certain medications used to manage diabetes, notably Metformin, have been associated with decreased levels of Vitamin B12. Since Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in the formation of red blood cells, a deficiency can lead to lowered hemoglobin levels and, consequently, an increased risk of anemia. It's important for individuals taking diabetes medications to be aware of this potential side effect and consult with their healthcare provider to adjust their treatment plan if necessary.

3. How anemia can impact your blood glucose readings

Have you ever wondered if anemia affects the accuracy of your blood glucose monitors? Some studies indicate that the reduced capacity of anemic blood to carry oxygen might lead to inconsistencies in glucose readings. While researchers are still piecing together the exact mechanisms, this finding highlights the crucial need for you to regularly test both your glucose levels and hemoglobin, particularly if you're navigating the challenges of both diabetes and anemia.

4. Managing anemia and diabetes together

If you're dealing with diabetes, anemia, or both, adopting a comprehensive management strategy is key. This means making dietary choices that bolster your blood health should be at the top of your list. If you’re looking for guidance on iron-rich foods to fight anemia, refer to our previous blog, What to Eat if I'm Anemic

Of course, medication management and regular monitoring of health indicators are just as important. If you have any concerns about how your diabetes medication might be affecting your hemoglobin levels, discussing these with your healthcare provider is crucial. They can help adjust your medication or recommend supplements to address any nutrient deficiencies.


Stay Informed: Monitor Your Hemoglobin Levels Easily with AnemoCheck

Keeping track of your hemoglobin levels doesn't have to be complicated. Tools like AnemoCheck offer a straightforward way for you to monitor your blood health. With just a simple fingernail selfie, you can get an estimated reading of your hemoglobin levels, making it easier than ever to stay on top of your health.

Understanding the complex relationship between diabetes and anemia is essential for effective management. By staying informed about the risks, effects, and strategies for managing these conditions, you can better tackle the challenges they present. Remember, regular check-ins with your healthcare provider and diligent monitoring of your blood health are your best allies in managing these interconnected conditions and enhancing your quality of life.

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