What is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Iron-deficiency anemia is common and occurs usually when you are left without enough iron in your body. The usual factors for low iron levels in your body are mostly due to blood loss, malnutrition and the inability of your body to absorb iron from food.1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0063057/

Iron-deficiency anemia is the most frequent type of anemia in the world, which usually develops when your body lacks enough iron, this precious mineral aids in the production of haemoglobin and in the transportation of oxygen to all body tissues.

Iron Deficiency Anemia Diagnosis, Symptoms, and Treatment

1. Red blood cell’s size and color

Red blood cells will be smaller and pale in color than usual, with iron deficiency anemia.

2. Haemoglobin

Haemoglobin levels will be lower than normal which indicates anemia. The usual range of haemoglobin will be 13.5 to 17.5 grams (g) of hemoglobin per deciliter (dL) of blood for men and 12.0 to 15.5 g/dL for women, and varies according to age and sex.

3. Ferritin

Ferritin is a protein that helps to store iron in your body, low levels of ferritin usually indicates a low level of stored iron.

Iron Deficiency Anemia Symptoms

Iron Deficiency Anemia Symptoms

  • The most frequent symptoms are
  • Tiredness.
  • Pale skin.
  • Intolerance to exercise or to minimum effort.
  • Hair loss.
  • Nail fragility.
  • Rhagades or fissures on the skin around the mouth.
  • Tachycardia in extreme cases.

It should always be taken into account that chronic anemia can sometimes produce organismal adaptation and hardly produces any symptoms.

I want to highlight that an important symptom that sometimes goes unnoticed and would have a diagnostic of Iron-deficiency anemia, is a disproportionate yearning to eat ice, even without being in a hot climate, and even takes place in room or cold temperatures.

This phenomenon is called ‘Pica’, and sometimes it is not just reduced to a yearning of eating rice but also to wanting to eat soil, wood, inorganic objects, etc.

It is sometimes diagnosed as a psychological disorder however; the levels of minerals in the blood should always be studied including Iron and it should always be taken into account, especially in children.

In the majority of cases, patients that tend to suffer from Iron deficiency anemia are

  • Women with abundant menstruations or with gynaecological problems whereby abundant losses of blood are produced.
  • Pregnant and lactating women, as they require a larger quantity of this mineral.
  • Patients with gastric problems, which makes absorption more difficult.
  • Intestinal parasites have to also be taken into account fundamentally in children.
  • A lack of adequate food can also lead to Iron deficiency.

Iron Deficiency Anemia Treatments

The treatment for Iron-deficiency anemia is Iron in the form of capsules, syrups, etc. These treatments have to have a minimum duration of three months in order to sufficiently fill Iron deposits, and a minimum of dose of maintenance would be necessary in a lot of cases especially those of women that have continuous blood losses.

The diet would consist in foods that are rich in iron such as

  • Meats such as beef
  • Vegetables such as watercress, Swiss chard, Spinach, etc.
  • Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, etc.
  • Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, peas, broad beans, etc.

And never forget that when taking iron as a treatment or foods that are rich in iron, if it is not accompanied by vitamin C, it will not be absorbed. Therefore orange juice, grapefruit, lemon, strawberries or stews where there is tomato, peppers, broccoli, etc. should always accompany Iron.


References   [ + ]

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0063057/

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