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So I'm 19 years old, and up until a few days ago I had little to no understanding of what anemia was. The only reason I decided to look it up the other day is because I was googling about a strange craving of mine and came across the phrase pica, which is apparently a symptom of anemia.

Let me start by stating all of my symptoms.
- Tiredness, no amount of sleep ever quite makes me feel refreshed and energized (I don't know if it's relevant, but I've had this symptom... at least since middle school. When I was in school, I would always come home and pass out for hours at a time.)
- Fatigue, (to the point where getting up and walking from one place to another or standing for any given period of time makes my heart race. My parents get frustrated with me because I don't do very many chores and a lot of it is because I always feel like crap whenever I'm active. It's not that I'm lazy or don't want to help, because I do, it just pains me greatly.)
- Heart palpatations, to build off of the above. Pretty bad, for about a couple of years now I guess. Even if I'm just laying in bed, sometimes my heart will just start racing for no reason. I thought maybe it was anxiety related, but given that I haven't been under a lot of stress as of late and it still happens frequently... I'm thinking not. Also, whenever I'm walking even a short distance, my heart races. If I walk up several fights of stairs, I feel like it's going to beat right out of my chest..... It's very scary.
- Pale skin (obviously)
- Shortness of breath
- Always/near always cold
- Brain fog (but not really headaches, just... generally slow to pick things up, thought process is a lot slower than I used to be.)
- Weight loss. (Not that I've noticed, but the Christmas before last my sister that I don't see very often pulled my mother aside to tell her that I had Very Obviously lost weight, even though I was already skinny.. which was weird to me because I hadn't been eating much differently than I normally do .... which, uh, isn't a lot/very good anyway.)
-Occasional dizziness, specifically when I stand up too quickly, but also sometimes when I'm just standing
-And obviously, pica, as I mentioned earlier. Or I guess I shouldn't call it that since it's not that extreme and it hasn't been diagnosed, but I always have this craving to taste my Irish Spring soap, and sometimes Dial hand soap, both in the original scents, not even like fruity smelling stuff..... this is really embarrassing for me to admit, but I feel it's important to note since this is the symptom that had me consider that I might be anemic in the first place. I haven't told anyone about this symptom because I'm worried about being judged.

I've just assumed I was depressed for the last few years which is why I never wanted to get out of bed, but now that I think about it, depression wouldn't explain my heart palpatations or my shortness of breath or why I'm so cold OR why I've craved soap....

I'm 19, like I said, just graduated high school this past June... I still live with my parents, I'm currently unemployed, and I'm not in college.

I'm not really used to "Adulting," if that makes sense. When I first told my mom about my heart palpatations around 10th/11th grade, she told me I was dehydrated and that I just need to drink more water. I told my mom a couple days ago that I think I might be anemic. She doesn't really trust doctors (plus I don't have insurance or money to go to a doctor really,) and she just told me that I should start taking iron supplements. I'm nervous about this because I've read that this can be dangerous if I'm incorrect and don't have a proper diagnosis/some similar conditions can actually mean I have low hemoglobin levels but very high iron levels, and taking too much iron can be fatal.

Basically I'm wondering what I should do? Do I trust my mom and just take the iron supplements? I told her about this a couple of days ago and she hasn't talked to me about it since then (she tends to ignore serious problems like this and I tend to be more like her..... but I'm also worried of like, you know, dying if I just ignore this problem any longer..)

I really appreciate ANY input because like I said, I'm just a clueless kid who has been having these problems for a while and is just...very nervous to go to a doctor, and doesn't know much except what my mother tells me to do. I very nearly didn't graduate high school because these symptoms have debilitated me so greatly, and I'm unsure of how I should handle this problem.

Thank you in advance to anyone who answers me, as I am very freaked out 💕





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