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"Iron-poor blood" - not for self-treatment.

That "tired and run-down feeling" may be due to too little iron in your diet--or to something else, such as an intestinal polyp or other source of intestinal bleeding, that causes anemia. So don't take the symptom lightly by trying to treat yourself with pills containing iron. If you think you may be anemic from whatever cause, see your doctor.

Anemia is a sign of some underlying problem. Essentially, the cause of fatigue from anemia is the inability of the blood to transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues at a normal rate.

The anemia may either be the result of insufficient iron in the diet, or a variety of other causes that result in a below-normal supply of healthy red cells. The most common cause is bleeding--usually of a slow, chronic nature--from ulcers, uterine tumors, intestinal polyps, and the like. It may also result from the use of aspirin and aspirinlike drugs, such as Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Whatever the cause of the bleeding, restoration of normal hemoglobin (the "active ingredient" of the red blood cell) depends upon getting enough iron. Although our usual American diets provide enough iron for the average person, iron supplements may be required for women who may have excessive blood loss from menstruation, and for persons who follow a strict vegetarian diet.

Vitamin supplements that contain iron do not usually have enough of the element to correct iron-deficiency anemia, however. Plus, the iron found in plants is not as readily absorbed as that in meat--and absorption can be further reduced by fiber and whole grains.

To receive a booklet about anemia, you may send a $5.00 contribution to the American Foundation for Preventive Medicine (AFPM), P.O. Box 1144, Indianapolis, IN 46206. AFPM is a not-for-profit organization for medical research and the dissemination of useful health information. With the anemia information, you will receive a 60-tablet bottle of Fe-Max, a slow-release iron supplement.

BITS AND PIECES

"Normal" body temperature of 98.6[degrees] F is not normal for everyone--that figure represents the median normal temperature of humans, half of whom will have normals somewhat above that and half somewhat below. Moreover, normal temperature varies according to time of day, being lowest in the morning and highest in the late afternoon or evening, with a variation of from 0.7-2.6[degrees] F. So if you want to discover your normal temperature, take it early in the morning, at midday, and in the evening, for several days in a row.

If you enjoy fish sticks--or if your kids will only eat fish in this form--Mrs. Paul's Healthy Treasures and Van de Kamp's Crisp and Healthy fish sticks are for you. By freezing the breading onto the pieces of fish (instead of frying them as sticks), fat content has been reduced by more than 60 percent--with no change in taste.

Having trouble flossing your teeth because the floss slips from your fingers, or you can't seem to get the right angle? Try a floss-holder--a plastic gadget that looks like a little slingshot, available in most pharmacies. And limit your flossing time to just once a day--overdoing it can injure your gums.

To cook food thoroughly in a microwave oven, keep it covered and stir or rearrange it at intervals during the heating process--just rotating the dish doesn't always do the trick. And remember that microwaved food continues to cook for a time after being removed from the oven, so let it stand for two or three minutes before serving it.

If you or your children must have pierced ears, you or your jeweler can do it just as safely as your doctor, as long as proper precautions are observed. Among these: use a sterilized needle, use only pure gold earrings for the first six weeks, and wipe the pierced area at least twice a day with cotton soaked in rubbing alcohol.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Words:652
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