Unexplained Hair Loss & Fatigue
Have you ever experienced low energy or exhaustion on Monday morning even though you just had breakfast and a cup of coffee? Well, I have. I would have never thought that I’d be associated with fatigue because I am passionate with what I do and I thought that was enough.
Hi, I’m Sarah, a successful mother of 2 in my 40’s who works in a multinational company, and this is my story. My day is typically full of meetings and not to forget, taking care of my 2 boys, youngest being 4 years old. I’m too busy juggling between work and family that I barely have time to take care of myself.
One day I noticed that my hair loss had been noticeable, and my energy level had decreased tremendously. At the same time, I had concentration difficulty at work which slowed down my progress. It was unlike me. I decided to seek help from my family doctor. She suspected that I might be having iron deficiency syndrome and she referred me to Dr. Ong, a Blood Transfusion Specialist from Dr Ko Skin Specialist.
After hearing me out and running some tests, Dr. Ong confirmed that I had iron deficiency. This is a condition resulting from inadequate amount of iron in the body and it is actually common. However, many people are unaware of this disorder. It was the first time that I heard about it and I was very curious and worried about my situation.
I didn’t have much knowledge on iron deficiency, and I wanted to know why our bodies need iron. Dr. Ong explained iron is an important component of red blood cells because it gives the oxygen something to stick on to, so that every time we breathe oxygen, it can be transferred from our lungs to every inch of our body. To put it in a simple term, iron is necessary for our body to function optimally for our well-being.
According to Dr. Ong, our body needs iron to convert food into energy. Lack of iron in my body was the main reason I easily got tired and fatigued. Besides that, it is common for people with insufficient iron level to get frequent infections and cold because iron is vital for well-being of our immunity. Iron also plays an important role in protecting our body against bacteria and virus.
With the right level of iron in the body, brain functions such as memory, attention, alertness, learning, intelligence, language and problem solving capability can be maintained without having to rely on external factor such as caffeine. Dr. Ong also mentioned that iron is important for developing and maintaining healthy skin and hair.
Dr. Ong explained that hair loss is another sign for iron deficiency. Although losing hair up to 100 strands in a day is considered normal, excessive hair loss with no new growth can be a sign of iron deficiency. I was relieved to find out about this as I was afraid that I might go bald for no reason. Dr. Ong cautioned that for severe condition of iron deficiency, our body’s ability to produce red blood cells is affected resulting in anaemia, which can make people look pale. People with severe iron deficiency could also develop cravings for non-food substances such as clay, dirt or chalk, also known as pica.
Dr. Ong finally explained to me my treatment options. After my first intravenous iron therapy treatment, I feel completely renewed. I am so much more energetic than before. My boss and colleagues noticed the new Sarah. Now, I have more energy to spend more quality time with my husband and kids. My hair started growing and I’ve been getting compliment from my family and friends about my thick luscious hair. I cannot imagine myself having to live another day with iron deficiency.
Dr. Ong Chiew Ping
Consultant Physician, Transfusion Medicine Specialist.
Wellness Medicine Consultant
Dip. Medical Laboratory Technology (USM)
Master of Medicine in Transfusion Medicine (USM)