Iron Deficiency Anemia

Anemia, or iron deficiency, is very common. In fact, it is considered the most widespread nutritional disorder that is seen in the world. There are many women and children who become affected with this in developing countries. However, there are just as many people affected in industrialized countries. Around 30% of the world’s population is affected with anemia. Many times this is due to the area having poor resources or being surrounded by infection diseases like HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis.

What Is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

When the red blood cell count in blood drops, then the person is said to have anemia. The American Society of Hematology states that a person’s age, any chronic diseases or viral infections can affect the red blood cell count. Anemia that happens due to the body not producing enough ironreferred to as iron deficiency anemia. This is very common in people. Iron is used in the body to help get oxygen to the muscles and tissues within the body, which is needed in order for the body to function properly. Thus, iron deficiency anemia is a serious condition that needs addressing.

Iron Deficiency Anemia in Pregnancy

When a woman is pregnant, she is more likely to develop iron deficiency anemia due to the body needing more iron to support the child the woman is carrying. Plus, most women do not have enough iron in their bodies stored up prior to becoming pregnant to support a fetus. This is especially true if the woman suffered with heavy menstrual period flows.

Iron Deficiency Anemia in Children

Children are prone to iron deficiency anemia when they have periods of growth in which their iron levels cannot keep up. However, this is not something that is going to happen within a few days. If a child is diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, then chances are thathe has always been low on iron.

What Are the Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Most of those who are low on iron, rarely notice this until they start to show severe symptoms of iron deficiency anemia. The symptoms of this problem include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • General weakness
  • Having infections frequently
  • The tongue may be sore or inflamed
  • No appetite or poor appetite
  • Having tingling in the legs or feet
  • Craving items to eat that are not food such as dirt or ice
  • Pale complexion

When to See a Doctor:

If a child starts exhibiting symptoms of low iron, be sure to see a doctor. Low iron is not something that a person should self-diagnose, as simply taking more iron can cause issues with the liver and other aspects of the body.

What Are the Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Usually, you can meet your body’s iron needs by eating a balanced diet. However, there are times in which low iron or anemia can be brought on by other factors. Factors such as:

  • Gut Infection.Seen commonly in tropical areas, and is very common cause of low iron. A worm is in the gut feeding on blood, resulting in low iron.
  • Dietary. Many times the person is simply not eating enough iron in their diet, and when coupled with other factors, they start to have low iron. This is especially true of those who eat diets that lack meat, as most meats contain iron.
  • Intestinal Bleeding.Many conditions can lead to bleeding in the intestines, which a person may not notice. Though the bleeding may be slow, the bleeding can lead to low iron. For example, stomach ulcers can cause blood to be lost.
  • Kidney Bleeding. Many diseases or issues can make the kidney’s slowly bleed. When this is the case, blood is lost and over time the person becomes anemic.
  • Menstruation.Most women will become anemic at one point in their life due to periods. However, those who have heavy menstrual cycles are more likely to become anemic since they are losing more iron. This is especially true if the woman does not eat that much iron to begin with.
  • Pregnancy. The fetus takes iron from the mother, which leads many pregnant women to develop anemia.
  • Medications.Many medications can lead to bleeding in the stomach, resulting anemia. For example, many NSAID’s can cause this. The person is often unaware that they are bleeding, which makes the situation worse.

What Are the Treatments for Iron Deficiency?

In order to treat an iron deficiency, most doctors recommend iron supplements. However, the doctor may also look into what is causing the low iron in the first place in conjunction with iron supplements.

Iron Supplements

These work best if taken on an empty stomach, but if they cause stomach upset, they can be taken with a meal. A person may be taking these for several months in order to get their iron back to a regular level.

Treatments for Underlying Causes of Bleeding

Many times in order to offset the bleeding in the body a person may be given medications to help with heavy menstrual cycles, given medications to treat ulcers, or even have to go through surgery in order to remove polyps or the like that could be causing this bleeding.

Dietary Advice

Those who want to solve their anemia with their diet will find that there are several ways to do this. Foods that are rich in iron that a person will want to include are:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • White and red meat
  • Brown rice
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Iron fortified breads

All major food groups should be represented on your plate in order to ensure a balanced meal. If you are anemic, then certain foods could be preventing you from absorbing iron. These foods are:

  • Teas or coffee
  • Milk
  • Wholegrain cereals

If you are low on iron, be sure to eat plenty of Vitamin C, to help with iron absorption.

Learn how to make vegetable juice for iron anemia via this video:

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