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.

Treating anaemia

Most doctors recommend increasing the intake of iron by taking iron supplements.

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