Living with iron-deficiency anemia can be both physically and mentally exhausting over time. A sufficient amount of iron is extremely essential for many bodily functions, and it is necessary for the body to make hemoglobin–the protein responsible for carrying oxygen through the bloodstream to cells. Although the symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia can make you feel tired and lousy, this health condition can easily be treated and kept under control.
My Symptoms and Diagnosis
For quite some while, I had a feeling I could be anemic. I am personally guilty of self-diagnosing myself with the information found on WebMD. The main symptoms that made me think I was anemic were frequent fatigue, headaches, and dizziness. I also follow a vegetarian diet and did not make a conscious effort to obtain enough iron from non-meat sources.
While I did have a gut feeling that anemia was the cause of these ongoing issues, I did not find out for sure until I became very sick with mononucleosis. I went to the doctor for extreme symptoms of fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and an unbearable sore throat. When the doctor was uncertain of the cause of my symptoms, he decided to take a blood sample and run a few tests–including a test for the Epstein-Barr virus (the virus associated with mono) and iron deficiency. A few days later, the test results came in and he found that I had both mononucleosis and iron-deficiency anemia. The findings completely explained why I had been experiencing these symptoms for a long time, but much more severely at the moment in time.
Although there is little you can do for mono besides rest and take it easy for 1-2 months, the doctor told me I should immediately begin treating the anemia with iron supplement pills and iron-rich foods. It was initially difficult to notice the effectiveness of the pills as I was still overcoming mono. After almost 2 months of feeling lousy, tired, and dreadful, I finally felt my body restoring itself to a much healthier state. Not only did I begin to feel like my pre-mono self, but I also started to feel much stronger and energetic than I had in years.
Living with Iron-Deficiency Anemia
I can honestly say that living with anemia had caused me to feel week and drained practically all the time. There were countless days where I couldn’t explain an overwhelming feeling of fatigue that made me feel lazy and unambitious. While I am still susceptible to occasional symptoms of anemia (usually when I forget to take my supplements for a few days), I am now considered only slightly anemic by my doctor and feel much more energetic overall. It’s silly to think I ignored the symptoms for as long as I did when there are supplements out there that can make all the difference to an iron deficient body.