I found out that I was anemic in my early 20s. I had always been a person that had a low energy level. Even as a child, I was not able to bounce around and stay up for long periods of time. Here is my story about my experience with anemia.
My doctor diagnosed me with anemia when I was seven weeks pregnant with my son. I had not had a complete physical in about three years and was shocked by the diagnosis. I had been very tired for a few years. I just thought that it was due to being stressed out from college work and family obligations. As a teen, I was not very hungry and often fell asleep before 10 pm. This continued into my 20s as well.
My doctor explained to me that I would need to take iron supplements, eat iron rich foods and have my blood drawn every few weeks by my OB/GYN to monitor my progress. I was told that I had iron deficiency anemia and that changes to my diet had to be done because if not then my exhaustion would get worse.
I was told by a nutritionist that I had to add more protein such as chicken and turkey to my diet. I was also instructed to eat dried fruit, lentils, beans and lettuce. It was hard to adjust my diet while pregnant but I had to suck it up and trek on.
My CBC did not improve much until after I had given birth to my son. I was taking iron supplements and sticking to my diet. The exhaustion that I felt only got worse as my pregnancy went along but it seemed to level off after my c-section. I learned how to make sure that my iron levels were good. I also decided to have a physical every six months just to check up on my progress to prevent any further issues with my health.
My Advice to Others with Anemia
Anemia is a medical condition that can become serious if not treated properly. I ignored my anemia symptoms for years because I did not think that being fatigued every day signaled a medical issue. I was young and did not have enough guidance about health problems. People need to make sure that if they have iron deficiency anemia like myself that they try to increase their iron intake so that the blood has the iron that it needs.