Could Anemia Be Causing Your Headaches?

If you’re an ice chewer, you may have been asked if you’re anemic or have anemia. As it turns out, those questions aren’t total non sequiturs, and there may be a connection between the condition and your urge to chow down on ice. 

Iron deficiency, which can occur with or without anemia, is associated with ice chewing. Although the ice chewing connection may be humorous, anemia can be a serious drain on your life. 

It’s often associated with tiredness, fatigue, and general weakness, but also has other symptoms. If you experience frequent headaches in addition to fatigue, anemia may be the root cause. Use this blog to learn more about anemia and its connection to headaches.

Do you find that you’re often tired and also suffer from headaches? If so, our experts at Apex Medical Professionals can help. Walid Elkhalili, MD, and the rest of our practice work with you to diagnose your anemia and get started on a personalized treatment plan. 

Dr. Elkhalili places a high priority on preventive care, wellness strategies, and health education.

What is anemia?

Simply put, anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin to effectively carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues. Hemoglobin is the main protein found in red blood cells and is what enables them to deliver oxygen throughout your body. 

Anemia symptoms occur when your organs aren’t getting enough oxygenated blood to function properly.

Who’s at risk?

Anemia may be more common than you think. It’s the most common blood condition in the United States and affects about 6% of the population. Children, women, and the elderly are most likely to develop symptoms. 

Children may inherit anemia in their genes, women are more likely to develop symptoms due to menstrual blood loss or pregnancy, and the elderly are more susceptible to certain diseases that cause anemia. Iron deficiency is the leading overall cause of anemia.


Fatigue is the most frequent symptom, but those with anemia may have any of the following:

Although there are over 400 kinds of anemia that may have different symptoms, the above are the most common. Many people experience mild symptoms and don’t know they have anemia until it's identified in a blood test.

The headache connection

Headaches are associated with several kinds of anemia, including iron deficiency anemia, vitamin deficiency anemia, and sickle cell anemia. 

Despite these different sources, headaches from anemia occur for the same basic reasons. 

If you remember, anemia makes it so your organs don’t get enough blood to function at 100%. When this happens in your brain, the blood vessels in your brain swell and cause the pressure that sets off a headache. 

This same pressure may also cause lightheadedness or dizziness. Most anemia-induced headaches can be solved with over-the-counter pain medication.

Thankfully, anemia can often be treated easily with dietary changes, supplements, or vitamin infusion therapy. Our team at Apex Medical Professionals will work with you to create a custom treatment plan that will get you back on track. 

Call our Fair Lawn, New Jersey, office today or request an appointment through our online tool.

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