Anemia is an extremely common problem among women in India with studies showing that females in the 15-49 age group account for about 51% of the population that is anemic.
It is a serious medical condition where the red blood cell count (hemoglobin) is less than normal and this can be due to many factors like not eating enough iron-rich foods, menstrual bleeding, socio-economic conditions, the lack of awareness, living with a chronic disease, recovering from surgery etc.
Anemia is a great cause for concern because the lack of sufficient iron levels in the blood can lead to serious consequences resulting in loss of life. There are many different types of anemia, the most common being Iron-deficiency anemia, which is treatable with a change in diet and iron supplements.
If you constantly feel tired or easily become fatigued, if your heart rate increases doing regular, day-to-day activities and if you notice that your skin is paler than usual and appears tired, you might want to get in touch with a medical practitioner for advice.
If you do suffer from the condition, experts recommend that you make some necessary changes in your lifestyle to help you overcome this condition. Here’s what you can do to beat iron deficiency:
- Adopt an iron-rich diet: Foods rich in iron are of two types – heme (found only in animal products) and non-heme (found only in plants). Chole, rajma, dal, peanuts, cashew, pistachio, raisins, spinach, broccoli, etc are all excellent options if you are a vegetarian whereas people who consume non-vegetarian foods as well can get their iron deficiencies met through the consumption of eggs (an inexpensive and rich source of iron), liver, chicken, lean cuts of beef, shellfish etc.
- Iron supplements: With the level of adulteration found in developing nations like India, solely depending upon food sources for your daily iron needs might not be such a good idea. Your doctor might advise you to take iron supplements if you are pregnant, have heavy menstrual flow or have a chronic disease. Any type of medication should be taken only after the go-ahead from a certified medical practitioner.
- Keeping people in the loop: It is important to keep family, friends, and co-workers informed about your condition if it is serious in nature especially if you have frequent episodes of weakness, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat. In case of an emergency, this may prove life-saving.
- Being mindful of diet and medication: It’s good to stay informed about what’s beneficial for you but what’s more important is to adhere to it. Now that you know the right diet to live by and even the supplements your doctor might have advised you to take, the next step is to be proactive about it.
- Try not to skip meals since your food intake is vital to get you through the day and keep reminders about your medication on your phone or on little post-its if you’re at work. If you’re someone who forgets routines easily, rope in a friend to help you with this.
The widespread nature of an ailment does not justify treating it lightly. Anemia is a condition that can turn into a fatality if the right approach is not followed.
Unless it has genetic causes or occurs as a result of a disease, there is no reason it cannot be kept under control with a sensible diet plan and medication that meets your needs.