The “Dancing with the Stars” choose and co-host of “The Talk” opens up about residing with iron deficiency anemia.
About six years in the past, dancer, choreographer and TV host Carrie Ann Inaba observed one thing was off.
Athletic, lively, and wholesome all through her life, she was all the time used to being excessive vitality. She beloved to kickbox and dance, and felt invigorated transferring between her totally different skilled worlds of dance and tv.
That’s why she knew one thing was off when she began to really feel chronically drained — an entire 180 from her typical quick tempo.
“I was fatigued and very pale. I had symptoms that sound like what happens when people are getting older. I went from a super active lifestyle to not doing anything. I gained weight, I was on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ and I was not feeling good about myself,” Inaba informed Healthline.
Inaba realized she had iron deficiency anemia (IDA).
What is it?
IDA is situation the place your physique doesn’t have sufficient iron to supply the correct amount of hemoglobin in pink blood cells, based on Mayo Clinic. Hemoglobin performs a job in transporting oxygen all through the physique’s tissues.
Today, Inaba is the movie star face of “Get Iron Informed,” an IDA consciousness marketing campaign from Japanese pharmaceutical firm Daiichi-Sankyo, Inc.
Inaba mentioned she’s all the time considered herself as an advocate for folks taking higher care of their well being. She mentioned that as somebody who lives with a situation that must be monitored and handled, it was vital to be a part of an effort that encourages folks to “develop good connections with doctors, to open a dialogue with the trusted people on your side.”
“I thought, ‘I should talk about this.’ It affects about 5 million adults — males and females — in America,” she added.
“I thought it would be important to encourage people to go to their doctors, get the proper testing, find out if they have iron deficiency anemia. It’s very important to live a healthy life.”
While Inaba skilled fatigue and pale pores and skin on account of her IDA, the situation has a spread of different signs.
People with the situation also can expertise weak point, chest ache, quick heartbeat or shortness of breath, complications and lightheadedness, chilly palms and toes, irritation and soreness of the tongue, brittle nails, odd and out-of-character cravings for nonnutritious gadgets like ice or starch, and a poor urge for food, based on Mayo Clinic.
Inaba mentioned that earlier than she was recognized, she had by no means even heard of the situation and apprehensive host of different illnesses may very well be affecting her.
This isn’t unusual. Dr. Stephanie Martin, DO, the medical director and co-owner of Clinical Concepts in Obstetrics, LLC, in Brentwood, Tennessee, can be affiliated with the marketing campaign and mentioned that folks can typically go for years unaware that they’ve the situation.
“It’s a story you hear from a lot of patients that the symptoms can either be nonexistent or it’s very possible patients have no symptoms at all or that the symptoms might be mild or mimic other conditions. Symptoms like fatigue or anxiety are not specific or unique to IDA, so it is common for people to jump to other possibilities,” Martin mentioned.
However, testing for IDA is fairly easy.
Josh Sasine, PhD, the director of the CAR T Program at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, informed Healthline fundamental blood take a look at is used to search for anemia.
Sasine, who isn’t affiliated with the marketing campaign, mentioned that some folks can in reality have iron deficiency with out having anemia — one thing that’s typically glossed over.
Martin mentioned that there are a number of teams of people who find themselves notably in danger for IDA. These embody ladies and infants who don’t get sufficient iron by way of formulation or breast milk.
Mayo Clinic studies that individuals who ceaselessly donate their blood and a few vegetarians who don’t eat meat and don’t complement their diets with different iron-rich meals are additionally at excessive threat.
Since IDA is such a variable situation, there isn’t a one-size-fits all method for the way to deal with it.
Inaba mentioned that she will get iron infusions twice a 12 months to extend her physique’s iron ranges. Sasine mentioned that therapies range relying on explanation for IDA and severity.
“Sometimes it can be mild and fixed with dietary changes alone,” he defined.
“Other times, iron supplementation is required, and these often have gastrointestinal side effects — mainly nausea and constipation. Rarely, we need to replace it intravenously if it can’t be absorbed through pills. This can be done with one or two IV doses.”
Because youngsters and infants are notably in danger for IDA, Dr. Lee R. Atkinson-McEvoy, a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, informed Healthline that it’s typically really helpful that infants be screened with a blood take a look at for IDA at 12 months outdated.
More screening is completed based mostly on whether or not they have every other elevated threat components.
“The symptoms of anemia are very generic, and it is generally standard practice in the workup for many problems — tiredness, school difficulty, hyperactivity, et cetera — to do a CBC (complete blood count) screening for anemia,” mentioned Atkinson-McEvoy, who isn’t a part of the consciousness marketing campaign.
“Given the general symptoms, it is common that parents or people themselves do not recognize that they may have symptoms due to anemia. The common cause for anemia in children is inadequate intake, although overall in all populations blood loss is the most common cause.”
She added that in adolescent women, anemia can happen with heavy menses. Excess consumption of cow’s milk can be a trigger, as are power ailments like kidney illness.
Treatment clearly entails taking iron and growing iron-containing meals in an grownup or baby’s weight-reduction plan, Atkinson-McEvoy added.
She mentioned that most individuals who develop anemia expertise a interval of iron deficiency “without the anemia part” first. Once the provides of iron are critically low to the extent that they influence an individual’s means to make hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen to tissue, then the anemia begins.
“Once iron deficiency is found, we must not only replace the iron stores, but find why it went down in the first place,” Sasine added.
“Occult blood loss, especially in the gastrointestinal system, should be tested, unless there is an established alternative etiology (the cause of a disease).”
Today, Inaba says she’s feeling higher than ever. The well-liked choose on “Dancing with the Stars” was named a co-host of “The Talk” earlier this 12 months.
When she thinks again on her prognosis six years in the past, she mentioned she was relieved to place a reputation to what was occurring with her physique.
“Not knowing is the worst part — your imagination is the worst, you keep thinking, ‘What could it be?’” Inaba mentioned.
She added that it’s vital everybody change into their very own finest advocate for his or her well being — if one thing’s unsuitable, don’t be afraid to ask your physician. In truth, she encourages folks to really feel empowered to take action.
When requested why she makes use of her movie star as a platform to direct a clarifying highlight on this explicit problem, Inaba mentioned it was a no brainer to get entangled.
“It made sense to me be a part of it,” she mentioned. “I love to help people.”