What is iron deficiency Anemia?
Iron deficiency problem is a common type of anemia. A condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. As the name implies, iron deficiency anemia is due to insufficient iron. Without enough iron, your body can’t produce enough of a substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen (hemoglobin). As a result, iron deficiency problem may leave you tired and short of breath. You can usually correct iron deficiency with iron supplementation. Sometimes additional tests or treatments for iron deficiency problem are necessary, especially if your doctor suspects that you’re bleeding internally.
What are the major causes of iron deficiency problem?
Inadequate iron intake
Eating too little iron over an extended amount of time can cause a shortage in your body. Foods such as meat, eggs, and some green leafy vegetables are high in iron. Because iron is essential during times of rapid growth and development, pregnant women and young children may need even more iron-rich foods in their diet.
Certain medical conditions can cause internal bleeding, which can lead to problem of iron deficiency. Examples include a stomach ulcer, polyps in the colon or intestines, or colon cancer. Regular use of certain pain relievers, such as aspirin, can also lead to bleeding in the stomach.
Inability to absorb iron
Certain disorders or surgeries that affect the intestines can also interfere with how your body absorbs iron. Even if you get enough iron in your diet, celiac disease or intestinal surgery such as gastric bypass may limit the amount of iron your body can absorb.
If you have endometriosis, you may have heavy blood loss during menstrual periods. You may not even know you have endometriosis because it occurs hidden in the abdominal orpelvic area outside of the uterus.
Some conditions — like celiac disease — that can make it difficult to absorb enough iron are passed down through families. There are also genetic conditions or mutations that can add to the problem. One of these is the TMRPSS6 mutation Trusted Source. This mutation causes your body to make too much hepcidin. Hepcidin is a hormone that can block your intestines from absorbing iron. Other genetic conditions may contribute to anemia by causing abnormal bleeding. Examples include Von Willebrand disease and hemophilia.
Know about the 10 common signs when you’re facing the iron deficiency problem:
Initially, iron deficiency problem can be so mild that it goes unnoticed. But as the body becomes more deficient in iron and anemia worsens, the signs and symptoms intensify.
- Extreme fatigue
- Pale skin
- Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
- Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Cold hands and feet
- Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
- Brittle nails
- Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch
- Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia
Mild iron deficiency anemia usually doesn’t cause complications. However, left untreated, iron deficiency anemia can become severe and lead to health problems, including the following:
Heart problems. Iron deficiency anemia may lead to a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Your heart must pump more blood to compensate for the lack of oxygen carried in your blood when you’re anemic. This can lead to an enlarged heart or heart failure.
Growth problems. In infants and children, severe iron deficiency can lead to anemia as well as delayed growth and development. Additionally, iron deficiency anemia is associated with an increased susceptibility to infections.
When to see doctor?
Talk to your doctor if you have risk factors for anemia or notice any signs or symptoms of anemia including: Persistent fatigue, breathlessness, rapid heart rate, pale skin, or any other symptoms of anemia; seek emergency care for any trouble breathing or change in your heart beat.
How iron deficiency diagnosed?
Your doctor will order a blood test to check your complete blood count (CBC), hemoglobin levels, blood iron levels, and ferritin levels. He also tells you that the iron level in your blood is low. Your doctor may also tell you that you have anemia with the iron deficiency.
How is iron-deficiency anemia treated?
Several treatments can be used to treat anemia.
Iron supplements, also called iron pills or oral iron, help increase the iron in your body. This is the most common treatment for iron-deficiency anemia. It often takes three to six months to restore your iron levels. Your doctor may ask you to take iron supplements during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if you have side effects such as a bad metallic taste, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or upset stomach. Your doctor may suggest taking your supplements with food, lowering the dose, or trying a different type of iron supplement.
Intravenous or IV iron:
Intravenous or IV iron is sometimes used to put iron into your body through one of your veins. This helps increase iron levels in your blood. It often takes only one or a few sessions to restore your iron levels. People who have serious iron-deficiency anemia or who have long-term conditions are more likely to receive IV iron. Side effects include vomiting or headaches right after the treatment, but these usually go away within a day or two.
Medicines such as erythropoiesis stimulating agent (esa) help your bone marrow make more red blood cells, if this is causing your iron deficiency. These medicines are usually used with iron therapy in people who have both iron-deficiency anemia and another chronic (long-term) condition such as kidney disease.
Blood transfusions quickly increase the amount of red blood cells and iron in your blood. They may be used to treat serious iron-deficiency anemia.
Surgery may be needed to stop internal bleeding.
- Natural Source to treat Iron Deficiency:
- Leafy greens
- Red meat and poultry
- Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
- Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
- Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas