Iron deficiency anemia is, quite simply, exhausting. I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia in my preteen years in concurrence with ulcerative colitis. I have undergone various treatments in order to address this ongoing issue. As iron is essential in the body’s ability to produce hemoglobin and maintain healthy cells, getting adequate treatment is a necessity.
For many, anemia can present subtle symptoms. However, I experienced quite a few. I was prone to dizzy spells and fainting, was constantly fatigued, and had mood swings. I remember a particularly bad evening in which I fainted several times. My mood swings were such that at times I didn’t remember having them. However, at the top of the list of my symptoms was massive consumption of ice. I would even purposefully overfull ice trays so that I could eat the little flakes of ice that would chip away as I broke the cubes free from their container. The cravings were intense and, at times, insatiable.
Due to the nature of ulcerative colitis, my battle with anemia is a life long struggle. I have under gone several types of treatments. First and foremost, I was instructed to eat a diet that consisted of dark green vegetables, such as spinach, and increase my intake of red meat. In addition to this, I relied on iron supplements. At times I took as many as three a day in an attempt to regulate my iron levels to an acceptable level. I have also received iron injections in the physician’s office. These shots were painful and I was required to sit for half an hour before I left the office. The most intense treatment I received was a red blood cell transfusion. At that point, my iron levels were so low that it was determined that my lie was in jeopardy. I was rushed to the hospital and received the transfusion, resulting in a two day hospital stay.
The main thing I have learned from my struggle with iron deficiency anemia is that even though I might think I am just a little tired, it could be something more serious. If you feel fatigued on a regular basis, there could be many possible explanations, with iron deficiency anemia being one of them. Also, maintaining a healthy diet is essential to giving the body what it needs to thrive. Even though I have a condition that exacerbates the problem, eating a healthy diet can help mitigate symptoms. Finally, don’t take risks with your health; you are worth the investment.