Anemia is a blood disorder resulting from the body not producing enough red blood cells or when too many are destroyed. Anemia can also be caused from losing large amounts of blood. There are people who may never know they have anemia if it's a mild case, while others may produce symptoms only during physical exertion. Once a person knows the symptoms of severe anemia he can get a professional diagnosis from a doctor and start being treated.
Notice any feelings of fatigue. Feeling weary or having no energy is known as fatigue and may be a sign that severe anemia is present. This could be because the body isn't getting enough oxygen rich blood. However, fatigue is also a symptom for many other disorders, some more serious than others.
Look at your skin and nails. Pale skin is a symptom of both mild and severe anemia, though not all anemics develop this. Another symptom is when the nails of your hand become concave or spoon shaped. Also notice if you start to get deep cracks or splits in the corner of your mouth.
Take note of dizziness or light-headedness. If you have anemia because of a rapid loss of blood due to childbirth, injury or a blood vessel rupturing, then your blood pressure drops and causes dizziness. Or it may happen because there isn't enough oxygen-enriched blood getting to your heart or brain.
Watch for lower leg cramps. This usually happens when exercising and to those who already have bad circulation in their legs. However, there are several reasons for leg cramps, like dehydration or low levels of potassium.
Detect chest pain or heart palpitations. This happens when vital organs like the heart experience a low level of oxygen and the body tries to compensate by increasing the amount of blood being pumped by the heart. Heart failure can be the result of severe anemia if not treated by a doctor.
Notice a hunger for odd substances. This is an unusual symptom of severe anemia called pica, and causes people to eat things like cardboard, ice or foods that crunch such as raw potatoes or carrots. Some people are embarrassed to admit they have such odd cravings so this is one symptom that is hard to detect.