I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia in 2008. I thought it was normal to bleed a lot during my monthly period. I was worried a little bit though because I only not bled a lot, but also big blood clots are coming out of my body, too. I noticed I became weaker and weaker each day. I loss appetite, always tired even though I wasn't doing anything at all. I slept a lot as well during those times. What I didn't understand is that I always have my regular CBC and other lab tests, but my doctor didn't mention anything about my blood count that was very low.So, it was like nearly a year before the diagnosis was confirmed.
When we moved back to Texas and had a lab works done with my kidney doctor or (nephrologist). He was alarmed how low my CBC was. He immediately sent me to an emergency room to get admitted for a blood transfusion. I was at the hospital for a couple of days. I was advised to eat plenty of foods rich in iron and to take an iron supplement twice a day. Then, also I have to go back to his clinic every other week for another CBC test....and get a shot every time.
Anyway, below is n info I found on Wikipedia about iron deficiency anemia which I found very useful for a person like me who has anemia.
Iron-deficiency anemia is a common anemia (low red blood cell level) caused by insufficient dietary intake and absorption of iron, and/or iron loss from intestinal bleeding, parasitic infection, menstruation, etc. Red blood cells contain iron and are not formed when iron is deficient.
Iron deficiency causes approximately half of all anemia cases worldwide, and affects women more often than men. World estimates of iron deficiency occurrence are somewhat vague, but the true number probably exceeds one billion persons. In women over 50 years old the most common cause of iron-deficiency anemia is chronic gastrointestinal bleeding from non parasitic causes, such as gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers or gastrointestinal cancer.
Anemia is one result of advanced-stage iron deficiency. When the body has sufficient iron to meet its needs (functional iron), the remainder is stored for later use in all cells, but mostly in the bone marrow, liver, and spleen. These stores are called ferritin complexes and are part of the human (and other animals) iron metabolism systems. Ferritin complexes in humans carry approximately 4500 iron atoms and form into 24 protein subunits of two different types.