Iron-deficiency (dietary) anaemia is by far the most common type and women are much more susceptible to the condition than men. In fact in one recent study, 10% of all women between the ages of 15 and 44 were said to be on the threshold of this condition, due to excessive blood (and iron) loss during menstruation. A loss of iron in the blood produces a whole range of non-specific symptoms tiredness, breathlessness, giddiness, pallor, weakness in the limbs and often an overwhelming lethargy because it depletes the amount of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment in red blood corpuscles. Hemoglobin is responsible for unnourishing and regenerating every cell in the body and for producing the characteristic “redness” of the blood. Many cases of anaemia present two important diagnostic clues. These’re nails that are spoon-shaped and curl up or downwards and a lack of color either beneath the nail or in the normally richly supplied conjunctive tissue inside the lower eyelid. Although iron deficiency anaemia is often caused by menstrual blood loss (one of the drawbacks of the IUD is a heightened risk of anaemia in some women due to an excessively heavy menstrual flow), but it may also be caused by other types of external or internal bleeding, such as a silent and slow bleeding peptic ulcer.
If you suspect you have anaemia or are feeling excessively tired, you should see your doctor. You should not dose yourself with iron supplements because if you do have the condition, commercial iron bolstered multivitamin pills will not contain enough iron to rectify the balance. If you do not have the condition, too much iron can be as bad for you as too little as it interferes with the absorption of other essential minerals principally zinc. For this reason, iron supplements are no longer automatically given as a routine part of ante-natal practice during pregnancy. If you want to safeguard yourself against iron-deficiency anaemia, incorporate a dark green leafy vegetable, such as broccoli, into your diet together with a helping of liver, kidney or heart each week. Eating a vitamin C rich fruit or vegetable with your meals will also help as this vitamin has been shown to aid iron absorption in the body.
A second, rarer, type of anaemia is known as pernicious anaemia and is caused by a deficiency of vitamin B12 or more commonly, an inability to absorb it from the diet. As B12 is found only in foods of animal origin (meat, fish, milk etc.), strict vegetarians, or vegans, should always take additional B12. Supplements are now available in synthetic vegetable form. An inability to absorb the vitamin is hereditary and seems to occur most often in middle age, particularly among those who are blue eyed and white or fair hair. Once diagnosed, the condition can be remedied by giving regular doses of the vitamin through injection directly into the bloodstream. Source: Charismatic Planet