If you're low in iron, you may also:
"People often don't know they have anemia until they have signs or symptoms -- they appear pale or 'sallow,' are fatigued, or have difficulty exercising," Chottiner says.
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After menopause, a woman's iron needs drop as her menstrual cycle ends. After a woman begins menopause, both men and women need the same amount of iron -- 8 mg each day.
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Starting at adolescence, a woman's daily iron needs increase. Women need more iron because they lose blood each month during their period. That's why women from ages 19 to 50 need to get 18 mg of iron each day, while men the same age can get away with just 8 mg.
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You might need more iron, either from dietary sources or from an iron supplement, if you:
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If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may also need to take an iron supplement, because the body doesn't absorb the type of iron found in plants as well as it absorbs the iron from meat.
If you're tired and dragging, see your doctor. "It's fairly easy to detect and diagnose the different stages of iron deficiency with a simple blood test," Thomas says. Women who are pregnant and people with a gastrointestinal disorder such as Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease should have their iron tested on a regular basis.
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