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How can I tell if I'm anemic?

By Anonymous December 11, 2014 - 10:46pm
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Here's some info about me.. I'm pale, tired a lot, dizzy often, sometimes sad, sometimes irritable, and my period has always been irregular.

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon

Thanks for your question! 

Let's talk about anemia: 

Anemia results from reduced iron stores in the blood. This happens when you do not eat enough iron to replace the iron that your body uses. Your body uses iron to produce hemoglobin. This is part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues and muscles. Bleeding a lot can also cause anemia .

While most people with mild anemia have no symptoms, when present, symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Fingernail changes
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Decreased work capacity
  • Heart palpitations
  • Infection
  • Craving to eat things that are not food (called a pica), such as ice or clay
  • Hair loss
  • Shortness of breath during or after physical activity

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam.

Tests may include:

  • Serum iron
  • Transferrin iron binding capacity
  • Serum ferritin level
  • Microscope examination of a blood smear
  • Fecal occult blood test —to look for hidden blood in the stool

Treatments may include:

Iron Supplements

Iron can be taken as a supplement or as part of a multivitamin. Iron comes in many "salt" forms. Ferrous salts are better absorbed than ferric salts. Ferrous sulfate is the cheapest and most commonly used iron salt. Slow-release or coated products may cause less stomach problems. But, they may not be absorbed as well. Some products contain vitamin C to improve absorption. Talk to your doctor, though, because your iron level could get too high.

To help reduce your chance of getting this condition, take the following steps:

  • Eating a dietrich in iron(eg, oysters, meat, poultry, fish)
  • Avoiding foods that interfere with iron absorption, like black tea
  • Asking your doctor if your infant is getting enough iron

Anon, I think you should see your doctor about this. A simple blood test can let you know quickly and treatment should see you better very soon. 

I would also recommend you have your thyroid tested at the same time - this is done by a blood test too. 

Let us know how it goes-




December 12, 2014 - 6:24am
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