Anaemia is a condition that causes a lack of haemoglobin (the main chemical in the red blood cells). Anaemia affects around 14% of young women in the UK.
Causes of anaemia
The most common cause of anaemia is a lack of iron in the blood; women may also develop anaemia during pregnancy or after giving birth and following a surgical procedure.
Sources of iron
In order to protect against anaemia you should make sure you take in plenty of iron; iron-rich foods include red meat and poultry, leafy green vegetables and certain breakfast cereals (many have a ‘fortified with iron’ banner on the box).
Symptoms of anaemia
Common symptoms include tiredness, difficulties with breathing and heart palpitations; women with anaemia may also look paler than usual.
Most doctors recommend increasing the intake of iron by taking iron supplements.