Living with Anaemia

Anaemia, Health, Blood cells, Kettle Mag, Nadene Chandler,
Written by nadenechandler

I thought I’d take a more personal approach to this weeks’ article. I’m not the best at eating, I can go a day without eating, then the next day I’ll feel like eating all the time. I skip meals, don’t eat vegetables and consume the worst ever student diet. I’ve tried long and hard to change that, but it’s a lot harder than it looks to completely change your eating habits. Due to my ridiculously bad diet, I’m anaemic. I would love to say it’s easy to turn that around, I’ve spent all of 2015 hiding my symptoms of anaemia from people because I was too scared to own up that something wasn’t quite right with the way I was acting daily. I was convinced it was down to laziness, well that’s what people told me. 

Just another lazy student or a student with poor health?

For someone who has an incredibly bad immune system, my life revolves around doctors appointments and tests. The other day, I had blood test number 16 of 2015, now that is a lot. There had been some talk between myself and my GP about the possibility of me being anaemic, but for some reason that still hadn’t prepared me for the official diagnosis a few weeks later.

One thing, it gives me a huge sigh of relief knowing there is a reason why I sleep for England, I can fall asleep at 10pm and wake up at 2pm the next day – when it was term time at university, I’d often use that as my excuse “9am lectures tire me out.” I had an ensuite in my room in halls, which I’d say was about two steps away from my bed. Sometimes it would be a challenge to get up from bed and just walk to the toilet, the room would often spin and I’d feel super weak. That was just one of the struggles I had to face, not forgetting having to force yourself out of bed for a lecture or seminar, I love my degree so much, but sometimes it became too hard to even attempt to make the 25 minute walk into uni. I’ve fallen asleep in lectures before, had panic attacks because I’m worried people will begin to notice and call me lazy, getting out of breath from a short walk and fainting daily due to standing up too quick was probably one of the worst things. Because of the typical stereotype that students are lazy, I thought I was just a typical student and wasn’t willing to change my ways, I regret not going to see my GP about this sooner.

As soon as you feel like you have symptoms of Iron-deficiency anaemia, go and see your GP! The longer you leave it, the more damage it’ll do to your body and lifestyle. If you have any concerns and are told you’re not anaemic but know you don’t consume enough Iron in your food, buy some tablets from your pharmacy, one a day can help prevent iron-deficiency anaemia. 

What is the treatment for anaemia?

Taking iron supplements shows you just how much your body actually needs that iron to help you stay fit and healthy. They do cause some wicked side effects, so take them with vitamin C. Even though I have at least a good few months of taking 2-3 tablets a day, I can already notice the difference, I’m awake a lot more which allows me to make the most of this wonderful summer break. The regular blood tests are a huge downside, I’ve always been petrified of needles, so having blood tests every now and then is a struggle to get up for, even more so when my veins aren’t the best to draw blood from. 

So if you’re a student and feel that your tiredness or not feeling yourself isn’t down to the usual “oh it’s because you’re a student”, you should research iron-deficiency anaemia to find out more about it, what the symptoms are and how you can treat it yourself. A lot of people are able to just adjust their diet and they’re fine, others decide to take an iron supplement daily to make sure they’re not at any risk of developing anaemia. If you are worried, visit your GP.

Have you ever experienced being anaemic? How did it affect you and what would you share about the experience with others experiencing it? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @KettleMag with the hashtag #anaemic.