If you’re a woman, chances are that at some point in your life you’ve been advised to keep a close eye on your iron levels to monitor for signs of iron-deficiency. If you’re a man, the chances of this are somewhat slimmer.
Unfortunately, it has been my experience that many healthcare practitioners tend to overlook the fact that, although women are at a higher risk for developing iron-deficiency (or nutritional) anemia, it is an issue that can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. In fact, anemia is the most commonly occuring blood disorder, affecting an estimated 1.62 billion people globally.
Simply put, anemia a condition resulting from reduced red blood cell production in the bone marrow. Unfortunately, due to the vaugeness of its symptoms, it often goes undiagnosed until these indicators worsen and become quite serious. Okay, the symptoms are vague … but what should I look for?
The most common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are fatigue / weakness, irritability, difficulty concentrating / confusion, coldness or numbness in hands and feet, trouble breathing, headache and a fast heartbeat.
So, when should I do something about it? Naturally, if you suspect you may be anemic, make an appointment with your doctor immediately (better safe than sorry). However, generally warning bells should start ringing when you experience the following …
- More than five days of tiredness
- Inability to perform routine activities
- Persistent exhaustion without much exertion
- Paleness of skin and fatigue / breathlessnes upon moderate exertion
- A yellowish (jaundiced) appearance of the skin.
- Slow healing of wounds
- The presence of bluish-green bruising under the skin