Be An Iron Woman: Battle Iron Deficiency Anemia
About 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women and 3% of men are battling iron deficiency anemia in America, and these are just the numbers that have been properly diagnosed. Iron deficiency anemia is most common among women and those dealing with chronic diseases such as diabetes, but the treatment is deceivingly simple in most cases. This usually just means increasing iron intake through an iron-rich diet or supplements. These simple changes tend to cure the problem, so if it’s so simple to treat, then why is anemia so prevalent? It usually boils down to the country’s unfortunate habit of consuming a high calorie, low nutrient diet, but there are other factors that can also contribute to anemia, so seeking a doctor’s diagnosis and following a prescribed treatment plan is important. Blood health is critical, and it is essential to know the signs and symptoms of potential blood health issues along with taking action to prevent any issues along with treating any that may already exist.
This is a call to action for women across the country to take on the challenge of being an Iron Woman. This means to take your blood health seriously, ensuring that your diet is rich in minerals and nutrients, that you have your iron levels checked regularly and that you take an appropriate amount of supplements to support your specific nutrient needs, particularly iron. This is especially important for women who are pregnant, post partum and who may have heavy menstrual flows or a chronic disease—each of these characteristics creates a greater chance for iron deficiency anemia.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Lethargy / Low energy
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations / Rapid heart beat
- Mood swings / Irritability
- Unusually pale or Flush skin
- Poor attention span
High Risks for Iron Deficiency Anemia:
- Women with heavy menstrual flows
- Pregnant women
- Post partum women / Breastfeeding women
- Post surgery
- Low nutrient diet
- Eat a diet rich in iron
- Dark leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, mustard greens, dandelion greens, brussel sprouts, cabbage, etc.
- Animal protein: steak, chicken, turkey, pork, liver, etc.
- Shell fish: mussels, clams, oysters, scallops, etc.
- Oily fish: sardines, anchovies, smelts, herring, salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.
- Other plant foods: seeds, beans, tofu, broccoli, potatoes,
- Reduce consumption of empty calories
- Processed foods: candy, cakes/pastries, white flour, refined sugar, most canned and prepared or “fast food,” etc.
- Sugary soft drinks: sodas, fruit punches, sweet tea, etc.
- Have iron levels checked (particularly if you are at high risk or have any of the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia)
- Follow doctor’s advice