What is iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency is a condition, a commonly prevalent condition in which the blood lacks an adequate number of healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to various parts of the body.
As the name in itself implies, Iron deficiency is a condition where the blood has low iron levels. Only with enough iron content in the body, the blood would produce enough hemoglobin required cells to carry oxygen. Hemoglobin is the protein that is found in the red blood cell that enables the blood to carry all the nutrients to various parts of the body.
This iron deficiency anemia is one of the most commonly found anemia globally.
What causes iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency is caused by many reasons. The core of the deficiency is that when the body doesn’t have enough iron which is required to produce hemoglobin.
In case a person doesn’t consume enough iron or too much iron, then the body will not be able to produce adequate hemoglobin.
The major causes of iron deficiency anemia are:
* Lack of iron in the food.
* Excess blood loss
* Body unable to absorb iron
Our body usually gets iron from the food we eat. If we consume very little iron, in the long run, our bodies would become iron deficient.
Therefore, consuming foods that are rich in iron is essential for proper growth in children and remaining healthy for adults.
If a person meets with an accident has incurred heavy blood loss, he would experience iron deficiency anemia.
In some cases when there is a loss of blood, we lose iron. Women who experience heavy blood loss during periods are prone to iron deficiency.
The iron content is absorbed from the food directly into the bloodstream. Anyone with an intestine disorder would experience difficultly in absorbing all the essential nutrients from the food. These intestinal issues may also lead to iron deficiency.
In certain cases, iron deficiency anemia occurs in pregnant women because their iron reserves need to provide for increased blood flow and blood volume.
Sometimes an iron supplement would be suggested to prevent the deficiency.
How can we identify the symptoms of iron deficiency?
Most of the time an iron deficiency anemia can be mild. It is often not noticed. Only if the iron deficiency worsens, there will be evident symptoms.
The symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include:
* Body fatigue
* Paleness in the texture of the skin
* Lightheadedness and headaches
* Inflammation of the tongue and dry mouth.
* Cold limbs.
* Dirty hair and very thin nails
* Poor appetite and cravings.
In certain cases, a person may also experience an anemia tongue. This is also called glossitis. If a person has very low levels of iron in their body, their tongue would inflame and change itself into various shades of red.
Only if the person exhibits any of the above-mentioned symptoms there will be a need for medical assistance.
At the same time overloading the body with iron would have adverse effects as well. Excess iron would cause liver damage and other complications.
How can we diagnose iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency anemia is diagnosed with blood tests. A complete blood test is done to find out the complete blood count. Additional tests may be performed to know the level of serum ferritin and the capacity to which the iron is binding and other related information are obtained.
Only if the ferritin test is done it would help the doctor understand how much of iron is stored in the body. If the results are below a set number, then it means that the person has iron deficiency.
How can we cure iron deficiency anemia?
Having proper medical support is essential. Talking to a doctor would help a person know if he has an iron deficiency. The doctor would let us know if the symptoms are mild or severe.
The main objective of the treatment would be to increase the level of hemoglobin in the blood. Most of the time, the doctor would suggest natural ways of increasing the iron through the diet. In case that seems to be inadequate, then he may suggest a few iron supplements.
A treatment plan is formulated based on the individual needs of a person.
The mainstream treatment for iron deficiency is asking the patient to consume more iron-rich food.
Some of the food which is rich in iron are;
* Green leafy vegetables like spinach.
* Few types of pulses
* Beans and peas.
* Various types of nuts and seeds.
* Red meat like pork, beef, and poultry.
* Iron-fortified foods.
* Foods that are rich in vitamin C
Consuming food that is rich in vitamin C would help in absorbing the various nutrients from the food.
Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common anemia globally. The symptoms may vary from person to person based on how severely the person is infected.
Most of the forms of iron deficiency can be treated without any major hindrance by following an iron-rich diet. Only in certain cases of anemia or when the symptoms get worse, medical assistance is required.
We can prevent iron deficiency in infants by feeding them breast milk. Adults should be mindful of what they eat., Through proper diet, Iron deficiency anemia can be prevented.