There’s nothing worse than feeling sluggish at 3 pm in the afternoon when you still have half a day’s work left to do. Or perhaps you’re tired of looking like a bruised apple, pale enough that no amount of sun could brighten your shade. Believe it or not, you’re not the only one experiencing these signs with one in five of your female colleagues likely to feel the same. “Signs of what?” you may ask. I introduce you to the not-so-wonderful land of iron deficiency.
What is Iron Deficiency?
According to Mayo Clinic, Iron deficiency is a common type of anaemia – “a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells.” Essentially, the level of iron in your body is insufficient, making it difficult for your red blood cells to produce a substance that helps carry haemoglobin, or oxygen, throughout your bloodstream. Consequently, you’re left feeling tired and sometimes short of breath. Individuals who are iron deficient will have ferritin levels that aren’t within the normal 30-300 ferritin reference range.
Symptoms of Iron deficiency.
The reason why so many women, and some men, don’t realise that they’re iron deficient is that the symptoms are mild. Some of the most common signs include:
- Excessive fatigue
- Muscle weakness
- Pale skin
- Cold hands and feet
- Shortness of breath
While such symptoms exist, it’s important to seek medical advice rather than self-diagnosis in order to set up the appropriate treatment plan. Wrong treatment can lead to detrimental side effects.
Causes of Iron Deficiency.
Nourish by WebMD says that about 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men do not have enough iron in their body. They also say that the solution, in many cases, is to eat more foods that are high in iron. But this isn’t necessarily always the case.
The reason why women are more at risk of iron deficiency than men is due to their menstruation cycles. Women with heavy periods lose more blood during menstruation, therefore not maintaining the adequate amount of iron that they require. Pregnancy is another factor contributing to why many women are unable to store enough iron in their bodies as their iron levels need to suffice for both them and their growing foetus.
Other causes of iron deficiency could include the body’s inability to correctly absorb iron. This means that no matter how much iron-heavy foods that you consume, your iron levels will still remain low. Iron deficiency can also occur simply due to genetics and having a family history of the deficiency.
How is Iron Deficiency Diagnosed?
Iron deficiency is simply diagnosed through a blood test that includes a complete blood count as well as sometimes taking serum ferritin, iron, total iron-binding capacity and transferrin levels into account.
Treatments for Iron Deficiency Anaemia.
Your doctor has the best advice on how one can treat their iron deficiency. Some treatment plans include iron supplements, an improved diet, or an iron infusion to name a few.
Don’t let iron deficiency continue to trump your motivation to get on with life. Be rid of the sluggishness and say goodbye to your pale complexion. It’s time to reach out to your doctor today.
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