Talking to your doctor about iron deficiency
If you have been feeling fatigued or have any other signs of iron deficiency such as paleness, faintness or a racing heart, you may want to speak to your doctor. It could be that you are iron deficient but there may be another condition causing your symptoms.
To get the most out of your visit it is useful to think about the information that the doctor might need in order to work out what is causing your symptoms. You could also plan the questions that you would like to ask.
Your doctor will try to understand what is causing your symptoms. You might want to talk to your doctor about:
- How long you have felt fatigued (if applicable) and whether it is better or worse after sleeping or exercise
- How extreme your tiredness or fatigue feels and how much it affects your daily life
- Whether your symptoms appeared after a certain event or change in your life
- Any other symptoms, including when they started, how long they last, anything that makes them better or worse and if they affect your daily life
- Whether you have any of the risk factors that make iron deficiency more likely, for example if you are pregnant, have coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, or have had bariatric surgery
- What (if any) medications you are on
- What your everyday habits are, including whether you smoke or not, how much alcohol you drink, and how much exercise you do
- Whether you have been to see another doctor or healthcare specialist or had to stay in hospital recently and, if so, what was the cause of your visit
What happens next?
Depending on their assessment of your symptoms, your doctor may ask you to adjust your lifestyle and return to them for a follow up visit. Your doctor may also ask you to have a blood test.
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