Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia that can affect people with a deficiency of the mineral iron. This condition can cause red blood cells to take in less oxygen. The element iron is needed by the body in order to create hemoglobin, the substance found in red blood cells that allow them to carry oxygen.

Causes of iron defiency

The primary cause of iron deficiency anemia is a continuously insufficient supply of iron in the body. This in turn affects the body’s ability to create hemoglobin, the substance in the blood that gives it its rich red color. It is also the substance that enables red blood cells to carry oxygen and transport it to all parts of the body.

The red blood cells are created in the body’s bone marrow. Lack of sufficient iron can affect how the bone marrow manufactures hemoglobin in red blood cells making them look smaller and paler and with a diminished ability to carry oxygen.

Symptoms of iron deficiency

The general symptoms associated with iron deficiency anemia include having pale skin, lightheadedness, extreme fatigue and weakness, headaches and cold extremities. Other cases may include symptoms such as an inflamed or sore tongue, brittle nails and poor appetite.

How iron deficiency is diagnosed?

Taking a blood test is the common means used by doctors to diagnose iron deficiency anemia. Blood tests would include checking the size and color of the red blood cells.

Doctors would also check the hematocrit or the blood volume percentage that is made up of hemoglobin and red blood cells. Red blood cells and hemoglobin count lesser than 11.1 to 15 grams per deciliter of blood would indicate anemia.

How to prevent iron deficiency?

A diet rich in iron is the most effective way to prevent getting iron deficiency anemia. Eating iron-rich foods such as red meat, poultry, eggs and seafood would help provide the daily requirements of iron in the body.

For those who particularly have higher iron requirements such as children and menstruating women can also add iron supplement aside from their regular diet. Taking Vitamin C can also help since it can help the body better absorb dietary iron.

How iron deficiency?

The common treatment for iron deficiency anemia is an increased intake of iron rich food. When doctors think that this might not be enough to address the problem, they will also consider adding iron supplements to provide the body with sufficient supply of iron.