Get More Energy!
How Hidden Health Concerns Wear You Out continued...
●You're mildly anemic.
About 12 percent of women under 50 have anemia or deficient levels of iron, a
mineral key to producing hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that
transports energizing oxygen throughout the body. Anemia is typically diagnosed
with a complete blood count test, which measures circulating hemoglobin levels.
But even if your numbers are normal, you may still be anemic. "Have your
doctor also test your ferritin levels, which measure your body's iron
stores," says Northrup. Anything below 12 nanograms per milliliter signals
anemia. Your doctor will probably advise eating more iron-rich foods, such as
lean beef and dried fruit. But don't take an iron supplement before first
asking your doctor, since too-high levels can damage your liver.
● You're hypothyroid.
One in 10 women have hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels - and about
half don't know it, according to the American Association of Clinical
Endocrinologists. "Thyroid hormones control metabolic rate, so when your
cells aren't getting enough, your body's processes start to slow down, leaving
you sluggish and prone to weight gain," says Mark Wiesen, M.D., director of
endocrinology at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Your
doctor can check hormone levels in your blood with a thyroid-stimulating
hormone test; low levels are treatable with a synthetic hormone, which you may
have to take for the rest of your life. Another 10 percent of women experience
postpartum thyroiditis, a decline in thyroid levels that frequently normalizes
on its own over time.
● You've got restless legs syndrome (RLS).
Up to 10 percent of women suffer from RLS, a neurologic disorder characterized
by an overwhelming urge to move your legs when they're at rest. "It can
cause severe sleep deprivation because whenever you do fall asleep, your legs
jerk you awake," says Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer, D.O., director of the Sleep
Disorders Center at the Cleveland Clinic. If you suspect RLS, check your iron
levels: One suspected cause is iron deficiency (doctors aren't sure why). If
you aren't anemic, ask your doctor about Requip, a drug proved to reduce RLS