Living With and Managing Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Living With and Managing Iron-Deficiency Anemia


SUSAN: I think I had been anemic
for a very long time. I was working full time and
in graduate school full time, so of course I’m tired. I thought my lifestyle
was causing this, and I did not think there was
an underlying medical condition. I work very hard
and really love my job. I love to travel
and do that as much as I can. I try and take full advantage of
this great city that I live in. I’ve got a nice dog
named Abbot. It’s great to have a dog,
especially in the city. It gets you out walking. Before diagnosis,
I was just abundantly tired. My skin was not good. I did have a couple of spells
where I found that I was dizzy. And I actually was also
pretty sad and depressed. I was chewing ice
like it was going out of style. My dentist was the one
that identified that that could be
an indication of anemia. I was at the doctor’s office, and the doctor
was so highly concerned about the quality of my blood
at the time, they thought that I must
have been on disability. For them to say, “We are surprised that you can
get up and work every day,” I think that was the first time
that I thought, “Oh, maybe I don’t
have to be so tired. “Maybe I can feel better
on a day-to-day basis. And it seems something
certainly very manageable.” I started to get counseling
on what to do to better improve
my overall wellness, particularly focused on anemia. It takes a long time
for the body to absorb iron. I do take an iron supplement,
along with a multivitamin. I try and take them
with vitamin C, which helps to absorb it
into the system. So the supplement is great,
but it’s more the lifestyle that really helps
to improve the anemia. I improved my diet — and it had always been
pretty rich with good foods — but really focused
on green leafy vegetables, red meat, nuts,
dried fruits, beans — things that added iron
to my diet. I eat a lot of spinach — I feel like Popeye sometimes — and I just really work it
into lots and lots of dishes. We also talked about
improving my sleep, making sure I was giving myself
the time to sleep every night. Exercise — all of those things
further help this condition. [ Whistles ] Abbot. Most of the changes
are very simple. I had already almost immediately
started to feel better. My blood counts
continued to improve, but I was still very anemic. And my gynecologist
finally recommended that a way for me
to improve this, and at the stage in my life, recommended
that I stop my periods. I had
a minor surgical procedure, and with that, I have seen
that next level of improvement in the quality of my blood, and I certainly feel
the benefits from that. This is a long-term cure that it’s something
that I just embrace every day about making smart decisions. And I’m so pleased to see
that each time I’m tested, it gets better and better. I have anemia,
but I’ve taken control of it, and I feel better every day.

11 Comments

  1. This video confuses me. I'm anemic and it's the least of my problems. This lady is acting like a cancer survivor, but anemia is not a major thing and barely effects quality of life…?

  2. Thank you for your comment. While some types of anemia can be mild, short-term, and easily treatable, other types can be severe and long-lasting. Some anemias can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated. Learn more on the NHLBI website.

  3. Hi, I was wondering how long it takes for iron supplements to take affect ? I've been taking iron along with vitamin supplements for about 2-3 weeks and i've still been feeling lethargic, shortness of breath (really bad), dizziness, heart palpitations and some other stuff.

  4. Thank you for your question. As a federal research institute, the NHLBI cannot counsel you on specific medical problems. We encourage you to consult with a doctor or other health professional who has examined you and is familiar with your medical history. For more information on Iron-Deficiency Anemia, visit our website.

  5. Thanks for the video. This person's story seemed very familiar to me. I too thought it was more my lifestyle that was causing me to be so exhausted all the time. Nice to see there is a path to feeling better.

  6. Thanks for your comment. Obesity per se is not associated with anemia. The detection of anemia in a person who is obese needs to be looked into further to find an underlying cause. You can learn more about obesity, anemia, and other conditions and procedures on the NHLBI website in the Health Topics section.

  7. I have severe pruritis. A blood panel showed no problems except: Iron 30 (50-180)

    I've been taking ferrous sulfate 160mg twice daily for a month but so far not much change in the itchiness.

  8. Thank you for your comment. As a federal research institute, the NHLBI cannot counsel you on specific medical problems. We encourage you to consult with a doctor or other health professional who has examined you and is familiar with your medical history.

  9. Thanks for sharing. i just found out I have anemia and I've been wondering about it a lot. Is taking vitamins an okay substitute for iron pills, or should I take iron pills?

  10. Thank you for your comment. As a federal research institute, the NHLBI cannot counsel you on specific medical problems. We encourage you to consult with a doctor or other health professional who has examined you and is familiar with your medical history.

  11. To the first comment, any illness is not good. It's not a contest. It doesnt have to be cancer to matter. There is a myriad of illnesses out there people can have. The only disease in the world is not cancer. I don't have cancer, so I don't want to hear stories just about cancer. NF.

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