If you’ve felt fatigued or unusually exhausted, consider whether you have anemia. Anemia is a medical condition where your body does not have enough red blood cells to function properly. Whether your body isn’t producing enough red blood cells, red blood cells are being destroyed by your body, or the anemia is caused by another medical condition, see your doctor for a diagnosis. While you’ll need to follow the specific treatment regimen provided by your doctor, you may also need to take supplements, change your diet, and use medications.
If you take an iron supplement as directed by your doctor, you should be able to improve your iron levels over time, which may treat anemia caused by iron deficiency. There are some side effects from iron supplementation, including dark stools, stomach upset, heartburn, and constipation. If your anemia is mild, your doctor may just recommend that you eat more iron-rich foods. The following are good sources of iron:
Red meat (beef and liver) Poultry (chicken and turkey) Seafood Cereals and breads fortified with iron Legumes (peas; lentils; white, red, and baked beans; soybeans; and chickpeas) Tofu Dried fruits (prunes, raisins, and apricots) Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables Prune juice
Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, so your doctor will likely recommend that you drink a glass of orange juice or consume foods high in vitamin C along with your iron supplement. If your anemia is caused by a vitamin deficiency, take a vitamin B12 supplement if your doctor recommends it. Most likely, your doctor will give you a vitamin B12 injection or pill once a month. This will allow your doctor to monitor your red blood levels and determine how long treatment is needed.