Anemia in Your Mid-Thirties?
A Woman's Perspective
For the past one year, I had noticed that my energy levels had reduced. I am a regular at my gym - have been since my undergraduate days.
I guess I took it for granted that I would have the same energy level as I did in my twenties. But when my running times decreased and I became more tired after my usual 1.5 hour workouts, I just put it to aging. Yes, aging, the dreaded A
word that most of us females hate to face, but have to eventually.
So into my thirties, I continued to maintain my activity level despite the fact that I felt run down and exhausted after my workouts. I rationalized to myself that if I decreased my activity levels I would give in to being old!
Sometimes, I felt breathless and my chest would hurt. I took it to mean that I was unhealthy and needed to EXERCISE even more!!
If it weren't for a recent blood test, I would never have realized that I was anemic!
Yes, all of the above symptoms: exhaustion after exercise, breathlessness and weird chest pains were all the result of anemia. How do I know? Well, just 1 day after I started taking iron pills, all of these ailments went away. I felt more energized than I had in the past year, even when I exercised.
Now here is what might be an issue for many healthy women in their thirties. I thought I was doing all the right things: I exercised regularly (about 6 hours per week), ate lots of vegetables and salads, rarely ate red meat, drank water, avoided simple sugars and all that!
So what went wrong? I actually had experienced many of the symptoms of anemia, but did not realize it.
Symptoms of Anemia
- Easy fatigue and loss of energy
- Unusually rapid heart beat, particularly with exercise
- Shortness of breath and headache, particularly with exercise
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pale skin
- Leg cramps
- Hair loss
The most common type of anemia, is the iron deficiency anemia, which is what I have. Women who have heavy periods are at risk for anemia.
Ironically, I also found out that active women also lose iron (through red blood cell loss) when they exercise vigorously. If they do not replenish their iron levels, they can become iron deficient over time (especially coupled with red blood cells loss through heavy periods).
So if you are in your mid-thirties, and you notice a change in your periods, then do monitor yourself carefully. It is known that women in their mid to late thirties can begin to have heavy periods.
Iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia
happens when the body doesn't have enough iron to produce hemoglobin,
causing the red blood cells to shrink. And if there's not enough
hemoglobin produced, the body's tissues don't get the nourishing oxygen
they need. Highest risk for developing iron deficiency anemia are
children younger than three years of age and premenopausal women. Most
young children simply don't get enough iron in their diets, while in
women who are premenopausal, heavy menstrual periods are the most common
cause of iron deficiency anemia. Pregnant women also may become anemic
-- during pregnancy a woman's blood volume increases three times,
boosting iron needs.
As I've found out, lowered energy levels is NOT part and parcel of aging! Check yourself out if you do feel something odd in your body.
In my next posts, I will detail how I am beating anemia (which is a condition and not a disease!).
Labels: Aging, Health