Cartoon: Annie has anemia

Cartoon: Annie has anemia

Historieta Infographic: Annie has anemia.  Click on the image to open the PDF

Historieta Infographic: Annie has anemia.  Click on the image to open the PDF

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Annie teaches a classroom with elementary school children. There is a blackboard with a container of chalk from which chalk is pouring.

Annie is looking at the cast

Annie: Why do I have a sudden urge to eat chalk?

Annie is walking home and looks at the dirt near the sidewalk/grass.

Imagination bubble which is her remembering weird things she wanted to eat:

Plaster

Lined sheet of paper

Soil/dirt

Ice

Annie thought bubble: I’ve had some weird cravings lately. I really want to eat dirt, but it feels weird.

Annie is walking up the porch stairs of her house and is short of breath

How tired!

He comes in and gets a big cup of ice and starts eating it.

Annie’s mom enters

Mom: are you okay? Lately, every time I come here, you eat a big cup of ice. And you seem to be taking a lot of naps.

Annie: I don’t know. I had a lot of cravings for ice and other weird stuff like chalk.

Mom: Hmm… I’ve heard of cravings like that, especially for women with heavy fibroid bleeding like you. I think you should visit your doctor.

Next week…

Annie’s at the doctor’s, a female WOC, early 40s

Thought bubble “I’m not going to tell you about weird cravings. It’s too embarrassing!”

Annie: I’m just really tired lately and I don’t know why.

I have also had very heavy periods due to my fibroids.

The doctor looks at Annie’s mouth (cracks on the sides), brittle nails and overall pale skin.

The doctor uses the stethoscope to check the heart

In the doctor’s office

The Doctor: You look pale, your nails are brittle and you said you were tired, weak and having difficulty breathing.

You also have an irregular pulse. Have you had any unusual cravings?

In the doctor’s office

Annie: Now that you mention it, I have weird cravings. I thought I was losing my mind!

In the doctor’s office

The Doctor: What kind of birthmarks? Were they things like earth or ice?

Annie: Yes! Exactly! How did she know? I keep craving earth, ice and chalk. It was very strange.

The Doctor: Those non-food cravings are called pica. And they can occur due to severe anemia, that is, very little iron. This could happen due to your heavy bleeding caused by your fibroids. We do some blood tests to see what happens. We will also check your vitamin D levels.

One week later…

Annie came back to the doctor in different clothes

Iron-rich foods:

Carmen

Egg

Nuts

Iron-fortified breads and cereals

Fruits and Nuts

Dark green leafy vegetables

Legumes

DOCTOR: Well, Annie, your blood tests show that you have severe anemia and low vitamin D levels.

I will prescribe you an iron pill and a vitamin D supplement which will help bring your levels back to normal. If iron pills don’t work, we can refer you to a haematologist so you can consider other options. Also, be sure to add iron-rich foods to your diet.

Annie: Thanks. I will start taking them today. Is there anything else I should know?

The Doctor: Sometimes taking iron can cause constipation, so make sure you’re eating enough fiber.

I can help you with the anemia for now, but you should talk to your OB/GYN about your heavy bleeding and fibroids. There are treatment options that may help you.

3 months later…

Annie is at the refrigerator handing a glass of water with 2 ice cubes to her mother and also has 2 cubes in her glass.

Mom and Annie clink glasses.

Annie: I feel so much better, and look mom, I’m only eating 2 ice cubes again!

Mom: I’m so happy. Here’s to healthy iron levels!

For more information, visit HealthyWomen.org

This resource was prepared with financial support from Myovant Sciences GmbH and Pfizer.

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