Anemia due to iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies

Patient

Q: Hi. About a year ago I was told I was borderline anemic. This week I read that anemia can cause you to be tired. I seem to always be tired and it's been like this for a long time. I just recently quit drinking energy drinks about three, four months ago also. I have a pretty good caffeine addiction that had me drinking 1-4 energy drinks a day, but for my health, I quit. But now it seems I’m even more tired then before and don’t have the caffeine to pick me up. I was considering getting some iron pills to see if it’d help, and when I was at the store, the woman there also said that I may be low on my B vitamins. Should I try both and what kind of B vitamins?

Doctor

A:   Iron deficiency anaemia is common in young women, due to excessive loss of blood in menstruation. This could be the reason why you are borderline anaemic, due to iron deficiency. However there are many causes of anaemia, and vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia. I would advise attending your family doctor for some blood tests including; haemoglobin level, iron studies, B12 and folate level check prior to commencing any over the counter remedies, to identify if treatment is really necessary.

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