Reading this while nursing your ninth cup of coffee in your cubicle? You're not alone. Exhaustion both mental and physical is a modern malaise that plagues just about every Singaporean working woman – but that post-lunch slump and multiple MCs may point towards something more sinister.
Enter anaemia, the surprisingly common health condition that a great deal of us are unaware of. Expect to hear more about this disorder as our stress levels skyrocket as a whole, which when combined with a lousy diet can lead to a crash in productivity (bad for results-oriented managers) and a host of health-related issues, which can when taken to the extreme result in death (bad for well, everyone else).
Simply put, anaemia is at its core a blood disorder precipitated by a lack of iron in your body, which causes a cascading effect of problems, starting with a lower amount of haemoglobin in our red blood cells, which in turn affects the ability to ferry oxygen to the all the different parts of our body, brain included (gulp).
This so-called iron deficiency anaemia can be attributed to menstrual blood loss (yep, yet another reason to hate your period) and other chronic bleeding conditions; think peptic ulcers and haemorrhoids.
One of the most common signs of anaemia is lethargy – your body's way of telling you it isn't receiving enough oxygen. This weariness can manifest itself in dizziness and even fainting spells; no fun under the sun, to put it mildly.
Of course, it's worth emphasising the need for a professional diagnosis. Make an appointment with your friendly neighbourhood GP if you suspect you may be suffering from anaemia; drag along a girlfriend for moral support if you need it.
Here's the good news. The action plan against anaemia is simple enough: Start by increasing your iron intake.
You see, iron is a criminally underrated element of a balanced diet; the trace metal is absolutely essential when it comes to supporting your immune system, maintaining focus and acing your day-to-day activities (we're looking at you, Powerpoint presentations).
The first step to take on your path to ironing out the kinks in your bloodstream, so to speak? Tweaks to your diet. Bookmark this story and refer to the following list for iron-rich stuff to add to your cart the next time you're grocery shopping: Leafy green veggies, vitamin-enriched fruit juices, lentils and beans, oysters, lean red meat, fish, prunes and raisins. Not so tough, yes?
It bears reiterating that you should consult your physician to rule out any other underlying causes of your fatigue.
And in a bit of good news, most forms of anaemia can be managed by boosting your diet with a quality iron supplement, which work almost immediately to crank up your body's production of red blood cells. Relief can be remarkably quick; most anaemic women should begin to feel better within a week.
When selecting an iron supplement, try gunning for a formula that is fortified with Vitamin C, to amply iron absorption; and that also come with other important elements such as vitamin B12 and folic acid that work in tandem to provide optimum blood health.
A sensible diet coupled with a superior supplement may make all the difference in the quality of your life – and may even give you an edge over the rest of your exhausted colleagues slaving away in the office. Good luck!