Sunday, November 16, 2014

Anemia, pica, and radishes - huh?

I'm writing this slightly weird post just in case somebody has these same symptoms. Starting about 8 months ago, I noticed that I wasn't as energetic as I had been. I wasn't able to work out as hard, and was sometimes a bit out of breath when climbing the stairs or walking uphill. I chalked it up to getting older, and not having as much stamina.

Then in the early part of the summer, I bought radishes a few times, and really enjoyed them. This was past the point of normal enjoying, and getting towards what would be labeled craving. I started eating them like candy - popping a bunch regularly, with salt.

It turns out that it's all related! Any kind of craving like this for a strong tasting vegetable that comes straight from the soil can be a type of pica, and can also indicate a mineral deficiency such as anemia! And of course anemia can cause fatigue and shortness of breath. I had a blood test a few months ago that showed I was anemic, and started taking iron pills. The craving for radishes disappeared shortly thereafter. And thankfully, my stamina went back up to what it was before.

So, if you find yourself craving radishes (and apparently other vegetables too, such as celery), it would probably be a good idea to get an iron test.

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