Former Gogglebox star Yvie Jones has opened up about her health battle, after becoming so fatigued that she couldn’t even attend her friend’s 30th birthday party.
The 47-year-old told Yahoo Lifestyle her symptoms started last year when she was going through perimenopause, which came with its own range of symptoms she’s never heard of before.
Yvie, who was working on breakfast radio at the time, was going through hormonal and period changes, experiencing extreme weakness and dizziness.
“I hadn’t experienced anything like that before, I was so weak. I was not working well. I was working on the radio and I just put it down to doing mornings, getting up at 4am,” Yvie said.
“I was missing out on social events. When it got to the point of missing out on my really good friend’s 30th my friends said this has affected you, you’re like a zombie and it’s not just early mornings, something’s going on and you need to investigate.”
While a friend told her she thought Yvie might be iron deficient, the I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here star thought that couldn’t be possible, because she eats a lot of red meat and had never had a problem with iron in her diet.
Yvie, who has recently started a podcast called Chickstory, went and got tested and found out that her iron level was very low, going on to get an iron infusion in February and now maintains her iron levels with supplements.
“I bounced out of there, I felt amazing” she said revealing she had been trying to fix her unknown problem with energy drinks and coffee.
“Normally they can make you feel good - the infusion was kind of like that but it was working in a real way,” she said.
Yvie documented her iron infusion on her Instagram page for her 105,000 followers, where she was shocked by the deafening response.
“Everyone thought that it just wasn’t even a thing, so I said let’s start talking about this with a lot less shame with things which are probably boring to so many but are so incredibly important,” she said.
“We normally just put other people first all the time. Whether you have kids or not, it’s a women thing, we just put ourselves last, especially when it comes to our health, until our bodies literally breakdown. We’ve got to start listening to ourselves and acting on it.”
Women’s health expert Dr. Penny Adams told Yahoo Lifestyle that iron deficiency can have a stream of effects on a person, including shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, an irregular heartbeat, hair thinning and brittle fingernails.
“If it goes undiagnosed, you become more and more anemic and when you’re really anaemic your heart has to pump faster to get more oxygen around to the body. You just become severely unwell. It’s an essential mineral. You must have iron to function properly,” she said.
Dr. Adams urged people not to self diagnose when it comes to iron deficiency, as it’s important to get to the root of the cause.
“You need to measure it, test it with a blood test. You need to know why you are iron deficient because there’s other things that can cause fatigue. It could be a thyroid issue, it could be a viral illness, it could be you’re depressed. There’s a whole load of other issues there could be,” she said.
She urged people to see their GP before buying supplements at a pharmacy, as you may need advice on how long to take them for, which ones can cause you side effects and whether it’s worth your while taking them at all.
“There are also a lot of iron supplements that aren’t worth taking because they don’t have enough iron in them,” she warned.