Talking to your Doctor
Talking To Your Doctor
If you have been feeling fatigued or have any other signs of iron deficiency such as paleness, dizziness or a racing heart, you may want to speak to your doctor. It could be that you are iron deficient but there may be another condition causing your symptoms. To get the most out of your visit it is useful to think about the information that the doctor might need in order to work out what is causing your symptoms. You could also plan the questions that you would like to ask. This section expands on the points that you might want to mention to your doctor.
Testing for iron deficiency
If you are concerned about fatigue or other symptoms, it is important that you find out for certain if iron deficiency is the reason. As well as discussing your symptoms and your medical history, your doctor may want to take a blood sample from you. Different analyses can then be performed on your blood sample. These analyses include a complete blood count to identify if you are anaemic, and other tests that check your iron levels. Different values may be used to define anaemia and iron deficiency depending on your age and gender. Click here to learn more about the tests that might be performed and what the results mean.
How is Iron Deficiency Treated?
You don’t have to accept your fatigue and/or other symptoms and adjust the way that you live; iron deficiency can be treated. Once your doctor has done blood tests and confirmed whether you are iron deficient, they will advise you on the best treatment option. The treatments may include improving the amount of iron in your diet by eating more iron rich foods, or by taking supplemental iron in the form of oral iron tablets, or intravenous iron. It may take different lengths of time for you to feel better, depending on the treatment. It is best to find out from your doctor when you can expect to notice a positive effect.
Choose your food wisely
If you are feeling extremely tired or have any of the other symptoms of iron deficiency, it is important to consider whether your diet contains enough iron. Eating more iron-rich foods is a simple way to boost your iron levels and reduce fatigue. Normally you can get all the iron that your body needs from a healthy, balanced diet. However, sometimes you might not eat enough iron-rich foods, even with an otherwise healthy diet. This is especially true for vegetarians and vegans who are more at risk of iron deficiency, or if your circumstances have changed, for example if you have become pregnant. See this section for a list of iron-rich foods and a list of foods to avoid to increase your iron intake.