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In todays Examiner, the first part of a four week series which examines comprehensively Iron deficiency and Anaemia.

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Iron deficiency Anaemia

Part 1

We need iron for many body functions, the most important is the manufacture of haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in our blood. Iron is absorbed from food and drink. It's carried by our blood to your bone marrow, where blood cells are produced. Our bone marrow combines iron with proteins to make haemoglobin. Any spare iron is stored in our liver.

Men on average need 8.7mg of iron a day and while women need 14.8mg a day. Most get enough iron in the diet; however, some people suffer from anaemia, which means low iron levels. Small amounts of iron are lost from our body in urine, faeces and dead skin cells. Much more is lost if blood is lost, which is why women who have heavy periods are at more at risk of anaemia.

When iron levels are low; the production of red blood cells in bone marrow slows and the bone marrow produces small red blood cells that don't contain enough haemoglobin meaning red blood cells do not carry enough oxygen to organs and tissues. This leads to the symptoms of anaemia such as lack of energy, breathlessness (even during mild exercise such as climbing the stairs) and paleness. Babies, teenagers and women (especially women with heavy periods) are more likely to suffer from iron-deficiency anaemia. Anaemia is easily treated and after a few weeks you can have your energy back.

Getting haemoglobin checked

A haemoglobin test is a quick and handy way of checking for low iron levels and associated anaemia. Whelehans pharmacy now have haemoglobin test in store which is proving very popular. It is simple 2-minute finger prick test in our private consultation room. Results are immediate. You can call in anytime without an appointment to get checked. It costs €5. Haemoglobin levels in the blood are measured in grammes per 100 millilitres, which is abbreviated to g/dl. The normal range of haemoglobin for a man is 13.5 to 17.5 g/dl and for a woman is 11.5 to 15.5 g/dl. Anything less than these numbers is called anaemia. Not everyone will get symptoms at the same level.


Free Haemoglobin Checks

We have been in inundated with Enquiries on our Free Haemoglobin Check Day on Friday July 12th at Whelehans Pearse St. If you suffer from Fatigue, Paleness, Weakness, Breathlessness and Irritability, this is a chance to get checked for FREE. Spaces are booking out. Simply call in on the day or PM us on Facebook or call us at 04493 34591 to book your FREE place. This finger prick test has results in two minutes.


To be continued…. next week I will discuss reasons for anaemia


For health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).

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