Instead of waiting until next month to see the doctor, give her a call and at least see if she can talk with you over the phone about your iron levels and her "slightly anemic" diagnosis. Keep in mind, she said SLIGHTLY anemic. She didn't say you're suffering full-blown anemia.
There could be other factors going on that are contributing to your energy levels being low, as well.
I agree - you might be starting to get yourself obsessive about it. That's not a knock. I catch myself getting obsessive about things myself at times, and in the long run it just stresses me out and makes things much worse than if I'd just come to some acceptance about something and just made small corrections without spending hours and hours trying to find solutions.
Just eat iron-rich foods without getting yourself tied up in knots over it. You can adjust your Nutrition Tracker to show you how much iron you're getting in your day if it doesn't already.
And be very cautious! Don't overdo iron because iron is toxic if you take too much. Stay within the recommended range on the nutrition tracker.
10/14/10 3:32 P
I've also had problems with iron deficiency anemia. I was diagnosed as being slightly anemic almost two years ago and have been taking (with my doctor's supervision and periodic blood tests) a daily iron supplement since that time. The reason that I've had to take the supplement for so long is because it takes a long time to increase the body's iron levels back to a normal level. Fixing the actual anemia so that you feel better occurs much more rapidly--you feel better within a couple of weeks.
It is true that the life span of your average red blood cell is 120 days, but that doesn't mean it will take 120 days for the anemia to be corrected. As soon as you start taking an iron supplement, your bone marrow will start producing a LOT of new red blood cells. The lack of red blood cells will be corrected within a couple of weeks. BUT, your body stores iron in other places and you have to replenish this storage pool too, even though you will already feel better/normal. This takes a long time and it also needs to be done under the supervision of a doctor who will periodically measure things like your serum iron, total iron binding capacity, etc.--you don't want to end up with too much iron because that can be harmful to your body.
Anyway, if you can't see your doctor until Nov., then maybe you can just put in a call and tell them you want to start taking an iron supplement now instead of waiting so that you can feel better sooner rather than later. They can probably give you instructions on how much iron to start taking and then, when you see your doctor in Nov., they can do a blood test and measure your progress/see if the anemia is resolved. BUT, remember that fixing the anemia is just the first step--you need to rebuild your body's iron stores and your doctor should monitor you to make sure this is happening.
I have been anemic pretty much my whole life. I have been on prescription iron pills (yuck!!!) and tried to up it with diet. One thing my parents did when I was in high and we discovered I was several anemic is make me eat chicken liver. It's high in iron, though I don't recall exactly how much. Of course, I hate it. They would buy a small order at a chicken place in town. They were high in fat and cholesterol fixed that way, but it was the only way for me to get them down. Mom has fixed them at home for my dad, so you could see if you could find a recipe that would work for you. Other than, there are lots of foods that you can add to your diet, doing a quick search should give you a better idea since I don't know what you like to eat. But beans, chickpeas, tofu, and certain veggies are good. But if I were you, I would put a call into the doctor and ask if a nurse could check with them to see what she wanted you to do. A daily multi-vitamin might be all you need to bring it up were it should be. When I started taking iron, and it still happens, I will get sick from the iron. And if you have something else already going on, you don't wanna add that on top of it, trust me.
10/14/10 9:07 A
Before I went through menopause, I took Womens One-A-Day. It contains iron. I switched to a different vitamin without iron after menopause. I do think you might be stressing too much. Just try to eat a healthy diet and maybe take a woman's multivitamin(the women's one contains iron). Even if the iron levels might not go up in your blood work soon, you should start to feel better "IF" that is the sole reason you are tired. So try not to stress and just see what the doctor says in Nov. That's only about 3-4 weeks.
Well, I saw her for a reason other than feeling a lack of energy. She did some blood work and mentioned in passing that I was slightly anemic, and that may have something to do with my lack of energy feeling. She then instructed me to do the most humiliating test i've ever done (i'll say nothing more on that then "fecal analysis"). But again, this test was to address my main reason for being there.
The thing is, i'm not scheduled to see her again until November 7. So between now and then i'd like to do whatever I can to see if I can address this lack of energy thing on my own.
During the past two weeks, i've not only seen her and learned of this anemic thing, i've gotten sick and had to stop exercising. As a result of that, i've gained 5.5 pounds (that's mostly due to comfort food eating, with no exercise thrown in as well). I've just started riding to work again and walking during lunch, but now that "lack of energy" feeling is even more apparent to me. It's very frustrating to have gained this weight, and on top of that the possibility that I may not be able to lose it again due to this "lack of energy" thing.
So yesterday I was thinking about foods high in iron. THen I read about the life span of a red blood cell (120 days). And it got me thinking.. WHAT EVER I do, i'd have to do it for a minimum of 4 months to see even the most minimal of results (good or bad).
Well, I don't want to spend 4 months on something that may/may not work. If it's going to be a may/may not work kind of thing, then I want to speed it up. So with that in mind, today i'm thinking supplements instead of diet (initially at least). Supplement for now, diet for maintenance (like you wrote).
It's just all I can see right now is 10 months of effort and positive results starting to slip away, with the added potential of not being able to repeat those results due to the lack of energy and the time of year. It's very de-motivating, and I feel I need to do whatever I can to address this as fast as possible, instead of waiting to be seen by a Dr. in 1 month increments.
Well, that's probably too much info, but there it is in a nutshell. Is my reasoning sound? Am I over-reacting? Are there over-the-counter supplements I can take that are safe, or am I stuck waiting for my over-booked doctor?
First, depending on the degree of the anemia...does your doctor think you can increase your level with diet OR are you at a level where supplementation is necessary. TALK with your doctor! supplementation is often necessary to return the level to normal, and then with diet you can maintain the level. dietitian Becky
Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 10/13/2010 (15:11)
10/13/10 2:26 P
I will do that sometimes. If I'm low on the iron at the end of the day I will eat just 5-6 biscuits of the Frosted Miniwheats and it brings it up. I don't eat cereal for breakfast usually. I use it for snacks and sometimes for lunch or dinner. LOL
All good suggestions so far (thanks everybody). My problem is I need to find something that i'll stick with because I really like it. It can be good for me, and at best I can make myself eat it every day, but that'll only last for x-time. Eventually i'll just stop eating whatever it is no matter how good it's supposed to be if I don't truely enjoy it.
I have to admit I was surprised when I read about the Frosted Mini Wheats. A single serving of that, even without the milk and eaten just as one of my snack times (eat every 3 hours = 3 main meals/2-3 snacks), would go a long way towards getting the minimum. Whodathunk Frosted Mini Wheats would be high in Iron lol!
Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are good sources of iron.
10/13/10 1:59 P
Most cereals are fortified with iron. A serving of Rice Krispies will give you 50% of the daily value and a serving of Frosted Mini Wheats will give you 90%. Some breads are also fortified. Oysters, organ meats, nuts, egg yolks, dried beans and foods cooked in iron skillets. Foods cooked in cast iron leach iron from the pan, however there is no accurate way to measure this.
Fitness Minutes: (4,293)
613 10/13/10 1:13 P
There are two types of iron A) hem iron, found in animal products only and B) non-hem iron, found in other products such as vegetables, legumes, and iron fortified products. The most quickly absorbed iron is hem iron and can be found in red meat. I am chronically anemic and use a steak every now and then to quickly boost my iron levels. However, I try to limit my red meat in general. If you just need more iron in your diet, it can be found in many, many different foods. I have found myself "craving asparagus" which means my body wants iron, as asparagus contains a high content of iron. This link provides a list of some sources of iron, however there a lot more sources than listed here. www.healthcastle.com/iron.shtml Try doing a google search for foods high in iron.
Now, I don't see her again for about 1 month, but I don't want to wait until then to try and start increasing my iron.
I want to increase my iron because I had told her that I had been feeling a definite lack of energy during my exercises (mostly long bicycle rides, with a little walkking and weight lifting as well). She had done some blood work and mentioned in passing that I appeared to be slightly anemic, and that may be why i'm feeling the lack of energy.
So now I want to increase my iron level and see if that in turn increases my energy (or at the least makes my feeling of a lack of energy go away).
I would prefer to get the iron naturally before going to a supplement. I'm the kind of person that when I find a food I like, it becomes a daily staple for me. There's no thinking about it, no boredom from eating it. It just tastes good everyday and therefore I eat it everyday.
I'd like to find a food that's easy to prep and can be stored in the fridge for 1 week (if necessary) and reheated in the microwave (again if necessary). Something that has very few ingredients, doesn't take long to prep/cook, is easy to find at the store and is not expensive, and isn't *bad for me.
*bad = the food has iron, but it also has a ton of sodium, or a ton trans fats or cholesterol. IE; I don't want to eat 9 bad things just so I can get the benenfits of 1 good thing.
I've been losing weight all year and it's been intentional. My diet and exercise have been very successful, but this lack of energy thing is really concerning me. As it gets colder, the only thing that's going to get me to go outside and exercise is my motivation, and i'm finding out that my motivation quickly vanishes when i'm "feeling" a lack of energy.
I'd just hate to have 10+ months of success vanish. That would really be disheartening and I don't know if I could recover from it given my history of PTSD. So i've got to do whatever I can, as fast as I can, and hope to rectify this lack of energy thing ASAP.
Can anyone suggest a food(s) that would fit the bill? Something that would give me 10 mg a day of iron (sorry i forgot to say i'm a man and i read that 10 mg is what's right for me). Easy to prep, easy to cook, store, reheat, etc.?
Thank you in advance to everybody for your time and helpful suggestions.