One out of four women suffer, the majority of them unknowingly, from iron deficiency – an insufficient amount of iron within the body.
“Women with iron deficiencies typically find their concentration evaporates before they’re able to finish tasks and their ability to get things done has nose-dived,” says Dr. Cathy Carlson-Rink, one of North America’s foremost experts in women’s and children’s health. “They also find it hard to exercise for any length of time and may have trouble keeping up with their friends in physical activities.”
Dr. Carlson-Rink, a licensed naturopathic physician and registered midwife, says women suffering from poor concentration and poor tolerance for physical activity are often suspected by their physicians of being anemic, so a lab test will be ordered. But when their blood shows normal red blood cell count and normal level of hemoglobin – the oxygen-carrying component found in healthy red blood cells – the doctors then rule out anemia.
“Because iron deficiency symptoms usually appear before anemia develops, a more sensitive test to check for a condition known as ‘pre-anemia’ or low iron stores is usually a good idea whenever anemia is suspected but not found by the physician,” Dr. Carlson-Rink says.