Olivia Attwood’s I’m a Celeb departure due to anaemia – but what is the condition?

‘I was so scared, I was like, “What the hell is wrong with me?”’ Attwood said

Laura Hampson
Monday 14 November 2022 07:18 GMT
Olivia Attwood jumps out of helicopter on I'm a Celebrity

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Olivia Attwood has revealed that being “dangerously anaemic” is the reason she dropped out of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! after only a couple of days of filming.

The former Love Island contestant, who is now back in Manchester after her short stint in Australia, said the condition was spotted during a routine blood test that all I’m a Celeb contestants undergo.

The blood test also flagged low sodium and potassium levels which prompted staff of the ITV show to take Attwood, 31, to A&E.

“I was so scared, I was like, ‘What the hell is wrong with me?’ They couldn’t give me an answer, they just told me that they had to get me to the hospital immediately,” Attwood told the Mail on Sunday.

“The results were really, really low when they put them into their reader and they consulted with another doctor off-site. I had those bloods done in England before I left, and they were fine. I was confused and of course very, very worried.”

Attwood explained that, once at the hospital, the blood tests came back normal and that she assumed the first test had been faulty and she’d be allowed to go back to the jungle.

The reality star added that she was “devastated” to learn she couldn’t return to her campmates.

“They said because of the results the show’s medical team got from my readings, they were not happy to sign me off to come back in, even though I had the clean bill of health from the hospital,” she explained.

“If I went back into camp, they feared my levels might drop and it could be detrimental to my health and wellbeing. They were not willing to authorise my return and therefore I wasn’t insured.”

Olivia Attwood was forced to leave the jungle after just a couple of days
Olivia Attwood was forced to leave the jungle after just a couple of days (ITV)

What is anaemia and how can it affect your health?

According to the National Institute of Healthcare and Excellence (NICE) iron deficiency is the most common cause of anaemia.

Anaemia is more prevalent among women because they lose iron through menstruation and pregnancy. In the UK around 23 per cent of pregnant women are anaemic, as are 14 per cent of non-pregnant women.

The NHS says symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia include:

  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Noticeable heartbeats (heart palpitations)
  • Pale skin

If you notice any of these symptoms, book an appointment with your GP who can order a blood test that will show whether you are anaemic or not.

Causes for anaemia can include pregnancy, heavy periods, or even a lack of iron-rich foods in your diet.

Iron tablets are the most common treatment for iron deficiency anaemia, but you can also try eating more iron-rich food such as dark green leafy vegetables like kale, meat, dried fruits, and pulses.

When left untreated, anaemia can make you more at risk of illness and infection as a lack of iron can affect the immune system.

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