So we recently had a staff wellness day at work, where we had our blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol checked. My glucose and cholesterol received perfect scores, but my blood pressure is a tad bit low… 90/60 which could be due to anaemia (low iron levels).
The word anaemia comes from the Greek word ‘anaimia’, meaning lack of blood. In Afrikaans it is called ‘bloed armhoede’ which directly translates to blood poverty. This makes it quite clear, as the main ingredient in haemoglobin is iron. So having low iron equals having low blood oxygen or ‘blood poverty’ / ‘lack of blood’. As iron is needed to move oxygen through the blood, so when there is a lack of oxygen, circulation is affected throughout the body which leads to a drastic lack of energy.
- A general weakness and lack of energy
- A rapid and forceful heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- Severe menstrual pain and bleeding
- Headaches, mainly in the front part of the head
Some people also experience the following symptoms, ;
- Decreased appetite
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Shortness of breath while doing any kind of physical activity
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased function of the immune system
Some symptoms are more visible and can be a good outward indication of a serious nutritional deficiency, these can be;
- The hair can become brittle and breaks easily
- The tongue may become sore, shiny and reddened
- Nails can also become brittle and thin and can be white and spoon-shaped in appearance
There are many more symptoms that can indicate anaemia and many of these symptoms can be indicative of other problems, so the only way you can be sure is to have blood test done to determine the exact level of iron in your blood.
Once you have an accurate diagnosis and you are sure you have anaemia, treatment is quite simple and effective. You can go two directions in treating anaemia, you can increase your intake of iron-rich foods (liver, beans, nuts, dried fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry and green leafy vegetables) or you can simply take a daily iron supplement.
WARNING: Too much iron in your system can also be unhealthy, so don’t self-diagnose. Consult you doctor and have the proper blood tests done. If the tests show anaemia choose an iron supplement.