I discovered I’m anemic almost five years ago.
Initially I didn’t give it much thought. I always figured I was anemic because I bruise easily and never seem to get enough sleep.
I can easily sleep 12 hours a night and still wake up feeling tired.
I would sometimes take my iron supplement, and stop altogether whenever I felt like the iron was becoming too much on my sensitive stomach.
I refused to always taste iron in my mouth, and I hated dealing with the occasional constipation it would cause.
But it wasn’t until I started having heart palpitations and constant dizziness did I realize how crucial it was for me to give my body what it was desperately lacking.
There are various types of anemia, but the most common one is iron deficiency anemia.
In iron deficiency anemia either the body does not produce enough red blood cells, kills off red blood cells, or looses more red blood cells than it can produce, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body and contain hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Because the body does not have enough iron, it cannot produce hemoglobin, which means no new red blood cells.
When the body has a low red blood cell count it can make you tired, weak, dizzy, have headaches and experience irregular heartbeats.
The first time I ever had heart palpitations I was driving and it really startled me. I never experienced a feeling like that before. It was the first time I had something happen to me as direct result of my anemia.
But it wasn’t until I started to feel like I was on a boat I couldn’t get off of did I really start to take my anemia seriously.
Initially the doctor thought I had vertigo. I woke up one morning to my room spinning and warping around me.
I became horribly nauseous and felt like I couldn’t focus. It was almost like I was outside of my body. I knew something wasn’t right.
At first I thought I was dehydrated. When that didn’t seem to help I thought it was due to the drop in barometric pressure from the weather.
I tried everything I could think of and nothing worked. I finally resorted to taking Dramamine just to make it through the day.
For weeks I experienced this sensation, it would occur without warning, and when the grocery store started spinning all around me one day, I knew I needed to figure this out.
It wasn’t until I started reading about how anemia can cause vertigo-like symptoms did I finally break down and start taking iron pills again.
Literally overnight all my symptoms were gone. It was the first time in two weeks that I finally felt like myself, planted firmly on the ground.
My iron levels had dropped, and my body had enough. It made it perfectly clear that it needed iron, and it needed it immediately.
Now, I take my anemia seriously. I take iron daily, and found a gentle iron with probiotics that settle in my stomach well.
More importantly, I learned not to ignore my body when it’s telling me it needs something. And as I was reminded to listen, I’d like to remind all of you to take your body and its signs seriously.
You’ll be so happy that you did.