This week I started taking dietary iron supplements, increasing my dietary intake of iron, calcium and vegetables and increased my time out in the sunshine for Vitamin D exposure.
My doctor had the results from my blood test and cancelled my Red Cross blood donations for a few months. She has scheduled me for blood tests in a month and has told me that I will be sent for more tests if things don’t improve.
To me, this proves that I have given my all, both to the Red Cross blood donation service and my studies. It was also a revelation to me, as I had often improved my general diet for health reasons, but never with those specific deficiencies in mind.
I checked the epidemiology of low iron and found that it is a common problem in developing countries, particularly for pregnant women. Apparently 40 million people in rural China have this problem, which is almost twice the population of Australia.
It was a bit surprising for me to find that a combination of donating blood and working with lots of different schools where children had Winter viruses had such profound affects. However, I am feeling much better now and have been these last two weeks.
When I was at university, I lived in four different places, where I rented a room. At the end of that time of living on a very limited number of calories per day, I was probably also deficient in those nutrients, but did not specifically add iron supplements. Looking back to that time, I think it would have been better for me if I had.
At least I picked up lots of recipes for using vegetables in interesting ways, so it seems easy now for me to come up with novel salad dressings, vegetable dishes and relatively low cost ways of increasing haem iron intake.
My doctor seems to have come up with a thorough diagnosis and plan for getting me back on track. I am so lucky to have found a good doctor.