Do you have anaemia?

Anaemia

Anaemia is one of those blood conditions which insidiously creeps up on you, until the symptoms are unable to be ignored. There are remedies which are very effective from both natural means and medical to reverse the deficiency of your red blood cells. Since it is the red blood cells which carry all your oxygen requirements around the body, you can see why having less carrying capacity will make you feel weak and tired.

Symptoms of Anaemia
Tiredness is the most well-known symptom of anaemia, the sort of tired where you may feel you have some energy, get to work and then feel completely whacked before the job is done. Going up stairs may leave you breathless and feeling like your heart is pounding. People may say you look a bit pale and washed out and then as with any symptoms that impact on your ability to live life normally, your mood can be quite low.
As the anaemia gets worse, you may also suffer from headaches, dizziness or just feeling light-headed, chest pain and you may faint.

Common causes of anaemia
The most common cause is a loss of blood, and this can range from small amounts regularly like bleeding haemorrhoids (bright red); a bleeding lesion in the bowel or a bleeding duodenal ulcer that makes your faeces turn almost black. Women are often more likely to have anaemia from regular heavy menstrual loss, or during pregnancy. People who have a poor nutritional intake of iron are also at risk of anaemia and in particular those who are dieting or complete vegans.

Less common causes of anaemia
If your red blood cells are abnormal or not being generated normally as in lymphoma or bone marrow disease, you often experience anaemia. This kind of anaemia requires medical intervention rather than simply increasing dietary intake.

Common beverage causes anaemia
My sister-in-law was recently feeling very proud of herself for including the new habit of drinking anti-oxidant rich green tea. She was drinking three cups a day, every day. After some time she developed unexplained fatigue to the point of needing to lie down for a rest during the day. Finally she went to the Dr who cleverly included information about her beverage intake, did a blood test and discovered that she was one of a group of people in which green tea blocks their absorption of dietary iron. She was very anaemic.
In fact, according to a Clinical Case report by Frank S Fan, November 2016, large amounts of tea drinking, does clearly interfere with iron absorption. He describes a man with severe anaemia who enjoyed multiple cups of tea daily. His treatment included stopping the tea and given intravenous elemental iron followed by oral supplementation. His progress was remarkable until he started drinking the tea again. His anaemia returned and he was forced to curtail his great love of tea.

Dietary cures for anaemia
Anything green and leafy in the fruit and veg shop has iron in it. Meat and in particular liver also has a good amount of iron. There is a wonderful green cocktail recipe which I found in Jill Nice’s ‘Home Remedies & Home Comforts’ book which has the added advantage she says of eliminating bad breath and body odour!

Green Cocktail
Add a selection of your favourite green leafy vegetables (spinach, watercress, nettle tops, kale, sprouts etc)
Carrots
Capsicums
Tomatoes
Juice of a lemon
a little water

Whiz it all up in a blender and enjoy!

Apart from the foods mentioned above, you can include:
apricots, walnuts, beetroot, wheatgerm, pumpkin seeds, dark grape juice, grapes, and dandelion tea in your meals.

See the Doctor first for tiredness
Fatigue isn’t just caused by anaemia, so it is always recommended that you get the facts before assuming you have anything in particular. It is also worth telling your doctor what you are eating and drinking (as my sister-in-law discovered to her great surprise).

Anaemia may be common and well-known, but it can still really affect your life in a not so great way. It is worth investigating if you have any of the symptoms listed.

Erica Fotineas
October 2017

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