Iron deficiency anemia is when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells.
There are different types of anemia, including, but not limited to:
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Aplastic anemia
- Sickle cell anemia
- Pernicious anemia
- Anemia of chronic disease
But we will talk in this article about Iron-deficiency anemia.
What Is Iron-Deficiency Anemia?
Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia, and it occurs when your body doesn’t have enough of the mineral iron.
Anemia happens when you have a decreased level of hemoglobin in your red blood cells (RBCs). Hemoglobin is the protein in your red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen to your tissues.
Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia
At first, Iron deficiency anemia symptoms may be mild, but as the condition advances, can get worse and include:
According to the American Society of Hematology (ASH) here are some symptoms :
- Being pale or having yellow "sallow" skin.
- Unexplained fatigue or lack of energy.
- Shortness of breath or chest pain, especially with activity.
- Unexplained generalized weakness.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Pounding or "whooshing" in the ears.
- Headache, especially with activity.
- Craving for ice or clay - "picophagia".
- Sore or smooth tongue.
- Brittle nails or hair loss.
Causes of iron deficiency anemia
There are many reasons why a person might become deficient in iron. These include:
Your diet is low in iron :
How much iron i need in my body?
How much iron you need depends on your gender and age. Men need at least 8 to 9 milligrams daily. Women ages 50 and younger need more than 18 milligrams.
NB: Foods such as meat, eggs, and some green leafy vegetables are high in iron.
Your body can't absorb iron :
Iron from the food you eat is absorbed in your small intestine. Conditions like celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease can make it more difficult for your intestines to absorb iron.
Blood loss due to menstruation or Pregnancy :
Heavy menstrual bleeding and blood loss during childbirth are the most common causes of iron deficiency anemia in women of childbearing age.
vegetarians are more likely to have Iron-Deficiency Anemia because they don't eat meat, a source of iron
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Risk Factors of Iron Deficiency Anemia
Many factors can raise your risk of getting iron deficiency anemia. Some can be changed and some cannot. Risk factors include:
Genetics and Family history. Two inherited diseases, hemophilia, and von Willebrand disease can cause you to bleed more and lose iron.
Kids aged 6 months to 2 years, teens, and adults over the age of 65 are most at risk.
Finally, Girls and women who have heavy periods or are pregnant or breastfeeding need more iron.
Lifestyle, This can include training a lot and not eating enough foods rich in iron, Like meat, eggs, and some green leafy vegetables are high in iron.
Treatment options for Iron Deficiency Anemia
Diets that include the following foods can help treat or prevent iron deficiency:
- Beef, liver, chicken, turkey, duck, and shellfish
- Leafy greens such as broccoli, kale, turnip greens, and collard greens
- Peas, lima beans, black-eyed peas, and pinto beans
- Iron-enriched cereals and other grains
- Dried fruits, such as prunes and raisins
You can treat iron deficiency anemia by taking iron supplements.
Most people take 150 to 200 milligrams each day, but your doctor will recommend a dose based on your iron levels. Taking vitamin C helps your body absorb the iron.
Iron pills can help return iron levels in your body. If possible, you should take iron pills on an empty stomach, which helps the body absorb them better. If they upset your stomach, you can take them with meals. You may need to take the supplements for many months.