‘A full blood count showed why I was constantly tired’
Posted on 16 March 2016
Capetonian Mandy Lawson, 30, couldn’t figure out why she was always fatigued – until a simple blood test revealed the reason.
‘I’ve always had a feeling of constant fatigue. No matter what I did, I wasn’t able to shake it – a healthy diet and regular exercise didn’t help. My doctor changed my antidepressants a few times and gave me something to help me sleep, as she thought anxiety might be keeping me up at night. Nothing seemed to work – I’d sleep eight hours a night and still wake up feeling exhausted. Finally, my doctor suggested doing a full blood count.
The process was pretty simple. I popped down to PathCare and had my blood drawn – it was a bit uncomfortable but not scary or painful. In less than a week, my doctor phoned me with the results. I was a bit anxious about it, because she said she’d be testing for a whole lot of things, from deficiencies to hormone levels to thyroid issues. On the one hand I wanted something to show up to explain my fatigue, but on the other hand I wanted a clean bill of health!
It turned out that I had iron as well as vitamin B deficiencies, so it wasn’t bad news at all. I now take iron and vitamin B supplements every day but it will take a while for the levels to get back to normal. I also learnt that if your blood lacks iron and vitamin B, it becomes sluggish and can’t get the oxygen around your body as efficiently – hence my chronic fatigue.
I still have days when I feel fatigued but they are not as frequent as they used to be. I’m happy a simple blood test helped me understand my body better.’
Here’s a look at what happens behind the scenes when your blood is taken for testing: