The bad blood count and anemia may be due to a lack of iron in the body.
Lack of iron in the body means that you do not have enough iron. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin – the blood pigment that carries oxygen in the blood. People suffering from a lack of iron tire easily because their bodies remain starved of oxygen. Without enough iron, the body’s fuel can not be properly synthesized.
Iron deficiency is the most common cause of low red blood cells or anemia. Women are prone to iron deficiency. In general, it affects about 10% of pre-menopausal women, 6% of postmenopausal women and less than 2% of men.
Symptoms of iron deficiency:
If a person is otherwise healthy, symptoms only appear after hemoglobin level drops below 10g / dl.
– The initial symptoms are fatigue, dizziness and heart palpitations (tachycardia).
– Shortness of breath even on slight exertion
– With severe iron deficiency, angina (chest pain), headache and leg pain (difficulty in walking).
In these cases of iron deficiency, symptoms occur on the tongue and throat and include:
– Burning sensation on the tongue
– Dry throat and mouth
– Sores on the edges of the mouth
– Nails become brittle
– Irresistible desire for a particular food (often not rich in iron)
– Brittle hair
– Difficulty in swallowing
What are the causes of iron deficiency?
Bone marrow needs iron, along with vitamins, to produce hemoglobin and red blood cells. Our body gets vitamins and iron from the food we eat, and recycles iron from old red blood cells. Lack of iron can lead to anemia – when the body lacks enough iron to make hemoglobin.
The causes of iron deficiency can be:
– Pregnancy – Iron deficiency can occur in pregnant women because their iron stores need to serve their own increased blood volume, this should be a source of hemoglobin for the growing fetus.
– Blood loss – Women with heavy periods are at risk group of people exposed to iron deficiency because they lose a lot of blood during menstruation. Other causes may be peptic ulcer, hernia, tumor in the kidney or bladder, polyps or uterine fibroids. Gastrointestinal bleeding due to regular use of aspirin or NSAIDs may be the cause of iron deficiency.
– A lack of iron in the diet – rich foods include meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables like spinach, sprouts and others.
– Inability to absorb iron – maybe due to some intestinal disorder such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, which affects the ability of the intestine to absorb nutrients from food.
– Diseases such as leukemia, piles, stomach cancer
Who is at risk of?
– Older people – maybe due to chronic internal bleeding usually caused by ulcers, polyps or tumors
– Women, especially those who menstruate heavily
– Pregnant women – they have to take a daily supplement containing iron to provide the extra iron required for growth and development of the fetus
How can iron deficiency be treated?
Treatment will depend on the cause of iron deficiency. If iron deficiency is left untreated, symptoms will gradually get worse. The person will begin to feel very tired and weak, and it will eventually develop angina or leg pain.
The cause of the deficiency should be early identified, particularly in older patients who are most vulnerable to colon cancer.
Some dietary supplements are available in pharmacies without a prescription. Iron is best absorbed on an empty stomach, but many can not stand it and should take it with food. It is important to know that milk (especially calcium rich foods) and antacids interfere with absorption of iron and should not be taken simultaneously. Vitamin C helps in increasing iron absorption and is essential in the production of hemoglobin.
Supplemental iron is also necessarily needed during pregnancy and lactation, because normal dietary iron regular diet can not meet the body’s needs. People who do not tolerate oral intake of iron, can be given intravenously or intramuscularly.
Foods rich in iron:
If iron is found in variety of different foods, its availability to the body varies significantly. General body does not readily absorb iron – depends on whether the iron is in the heme and non-heme form.
Heme iron is found only in meat, fish and poultry, and is a lot more easily absorbed than non-heme iron, which is found primarily in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and grain (plant sources).
How you can increase the absorption of iron from non-heme foods:
If in addition with non-heme you eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, oranges, olives and strawberries.
If the non-heme cooked in an iron pot.
Iron-rich foods include raisins, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, red meat (liver is the highest source), fish, poultry, eggs (yolk), legumes (peas and beans), chickpeas, almonds, apricots, beet, pomegranate, dates, figs and whole grain bread.
Some precautions with iron deficiency:
Avoid coffee, tea and other caffeine drinks because they decrease iron absorption.
Excess consumption of high fiber foods (the phytates in such foods) restrict iron absorption.
Limit your intake of calcium – calcium supplement take at different times of your iron supplement.
Do not eat foods that are high in oxalic acid – a substance that reduces the body’s ability to absorb iron.
Among the foods that reduces the ability to absorb iron include tomato, soda, dairy products, coffee and black tea.