Health: Vitamins & Supplements
Anaemic? Is it leaving you bone tired… or struggling to sleep?
Health: Vitamins & Supplements
21 Aug 2018
Modern life is fast-paced and stressful so, when we start experiencing things like fatigue and insomnia, we all too often brush it aside as the mere ‘side effects’ of being alive. Still, what if these, along with other health niggles were actually the symptoms of an easily treatable condition. Having been caused by something as seemingly simple as a nutrient deficiency like anaemia? How are you diagnosed as anaemic anyhow?
You might be anaemic
There are several forms of anaemia but the most common one is iron-deficiency anaemia, the result of not ingesting or absorbing enough iron. This often-overlooked mineral is important for many reasons, but one of the most important is that it’s necessary for your body to create haemoglobin. This is the substance that allows your red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body. Without enough haemoglobin, you don’t get enough oxygen. It is for this reason that anaemia makes you feel incredibly tired and short of breath. For example, you might find that you’re incredibly walking fit but one day, just climbing just a single flight of stairs or walking a short distance at pace leaves you feeling breathless.
Know the signs of being anaemic
Anaemia is a bit of an insidious condition as many of the symptoms are subtle. This means that they could easily be assigned to other causes until they become numerous or extreme. Also, many think they have to experience every symptom to be affected, but you don’t. It’s entirely possible to be severely anaemic and not have a swollen tongue or an inexplicable craving for an odd food like ice.
The list of anaemia symptoms is a long one but these are the most common.
– Pale skin
– Shortness of breath
– Irregular heartbeat
– Chest pain
– Aches and pains (nerve pain and muscle stiffness or weakness)
– Hair fall
– Dizziness or light-headedness
– Cold hands and feet
– Inflamed, sore or smooth tongue
– Weak, brittle nails
– Pica (Craving strange non-food things like ice or even dirt.)
Any doctors can easily diagnose anaemia with a few simple blood tests. These will measure the different aspects of your blood, like your haemoglobin and ferritin levels. (Ferritin is a protein that helps your body store its iron so too little can indicate low iron reserves.)
There are several factors that can cause anaemia but two of the main ones are blood loss and nutrition problems.
As far as bleeding goes, menstruating women, particularly those with heavy periods, are generally more prone to anaemia than men. Pregnancy also puts women at risk because their iron stores, aside from having to serve their own body’s growing blood volume, also have to supply their fetus. You could also be bleeding internally but be unaware of it. This is often the case with something like a peptic ulcer, which will increase your risk.
In regard to nutrition, if you’re a vegetarian or don’t eat a healthy, balanced diet, you may not be getting enough iron from your food. Alternatively, you could be putting enough in your mouth but simply not absorbing it properly. Conditions that affect the health of your gut. Things like dysbiosis, leaky gut or celiac disease will definitely hamper your body’s ability to get the right amount of nutrition from your food.
Getting back on track
Usually, oral supplementation is enough to treat iron deficiency anaemia. However, in certain cases, your doctor might recommend iron infusion therapy using an intravenous drip. Also, if you’re anaemic, it’s a good idea to also supplement folic acid and vitamin B12 that help your body to produce red blood cells as well as vitamin C which improves the absorption of the iron. A good iron supplement, such as Metagenics Hemagenics and Iron Chews will be a complex that includes several of these, if not all. Your Health Renewal doctor will be able to advise you on what would be best and how much of it to take.
Don’t be tempted to self-diagnose an iron deficiency. Getting too much of it can be just as damaging as not enough and, in some cases, lethal, so make an appointment with your doctor who can put you the path to good health once more.