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Iron Deficiency Anemia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What is Iron Deficiency Anemia? See all the Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of it.

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common subset of anemia, like aplastic anemia. Anemia is a disease that makes a person suffer from a lack of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Red blood cells work behind letting oxygen reach every part of the body, and the protein that assists RBCs in this task is hemoglobin. Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the body lacks iron which is an essential nutrient to produce hemoglobin. This is how iron deficiency anemia causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream and hampers the process of delivering oxygen to every part of the body by red blood cells. 

Iron deficiency anemia is a common health condition that people can treat easily. Pregnant women, women who face heavy bleeding during menstruation, people who consume an iron deficit diet, etc., fall under the category of people who commonly experience iron deficiency symptoms. People with iron deficiency anemia usually follow the advice of taking iron supplements and adding iron-rich foods to cope with iron deficiency anemia in the body. The benefits of Shilajit resin contain the Ayurvedic magic and gradually heal iron deficiency anemia. The high levels of iron and humic acid in shilajit resin can restore the iron reserves quickly. Let us now further discuss the symptoms of iron deficiency along with the causes and iron deficiency anemia treatment. 

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia-

The problem of iron deficiency anemia can reflect moderate to severe symptoms. Mild symptoms of iron deficiency anemia may go unnoticeable by many people. The signs of iron deficiency anemia seem normal at times of pregnancy and post-pregnancy; however, one must see a doctor to address even the mildest symptoms to avoid future complications. The common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are as follows- 

  • Weakness
  • Mild to severe Fatigue
  • Dizziness 
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pale skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest ache
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Headaches
  • Inflammation or soreness of the tongue
  • Cravings for junk food
  • Loss of appetite

Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia occurs when hemoglobin is unable to provide oxygenated blood in the bloodstream. The condition of iron deficiency anemia occurs mainly because of low iron levels in the blood because of insufficient iron intake. Low iron levels slow down the process of producing hemoglobin in the body and ultimately give rise to iron deficiency anemia. The major causes of iron deficiency anemia are as follows- 

Blood Loss-

Red blood cells hold oxygen in the blood. That means losing blood amounts to losing iron as well. This is why women with heavy bleeding during menstruation are at risk of iron deficiency anemia. Slow and chronic blood loss in the body occurring from conditions like peptic ulcers, a hiatal hernia, a colon polyp, or colorectal cancer can cause iron-deficiency anemia. Gastrointestinal bleeding resulting from regular use of pain relievers, especially aspirin, can also cause iron-deficiency anemia.

Also See: How To Increase Oxygen Levels In The Body Naturally

Lack of Iron in The Diet-

Human body gets iron mainly from the diet and foods. If one consumes less iron over some time, the body becomes iron deficient and may develop iron deficiency anemia. Examples of iron-rich foods are red meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables, and fortified iron supplements. Infants and children must get enough iron from their diet for healthy growth and to keep iron deficiency anemia at bay. 

Inability To Absorb Iron-

The small intestines are responsible for absorbing iron in the body. An intestinal disorder, such as celiac disease, can affect the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients like iron from digested food, which may give rise to iron deficiency anemia. The removal of any intestinal part surgically may also lead to iron deficiency anemia as it lowers the body’s iron absorption ability. 

Pregnancy-

Without iron supplementation, iron deficiency anemia occurs in most pregnant women because their body utilizes the iron reserves for the increased blood volume and becomes a source of hemoglobin development for the growing fetus. A pregnant woman needs to take regular iron supplements as a deficit of iron reserves may cause iron deficiency anemia during or post-pregnancy.

Also See: What is Anemia and What Causes It?

Who is Prone to Iron Deficiency Anemia?

There are some categories of people who are at a higher risk of developing Iron Deficiency Anemia. 

  • Vegetarians– Vegetarians or vegans who rely on a plant-based diet may not get sufficient iron and develop iron deficiency anemia. Iron-rich alternatives such as fortified cereals, green leafy vegetables, beans, etc., must be present in their diet to ensure iron intake. Vegetarians who prefer seafood can add oysters or salmon to their regular diet to combat conditions like iron deficiency anemia.
  • Women– Monthly menstrual cycles and blood loss can put women and teenage girls at the risk of iron deficiency anemia. 
  • Blood donors– People who donate blood regularly increase their chances of developing iron-deficiency anemia. The frequent decrease in blood levels may also reduce the iron reserves of the body. 
  • Infants and children– Premature babies and infants with low birth weight can also be at risk of iron deficiency anemia. Infants unable to get enough iron through breast milk may get prone to the same problem. In such a situation, doctors advise breastfeeding women to add iron-rich formula to their baby’s diet to increase their iron levels. 

Similarly, children in the phase of growth spurts may face the risk of iron deficiency and developing iron-deficiency anemia. Children need to eat a varied and nutrient-rich diet to avoid conditions like iron deficiency anemia.

Also See: Home Remedies for Irregular Periods

Treatment of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia usually has two types of treatments: increment in iron intake and treating the underlying conditions that may be the reason behind iron deficiency anemia.

  • Doctors may recommend using iron supplements to correct the imbalance of iron levels and avoid iron deficiency anemia. Iron supplements are readily available and become important to consume only if the doctor prescribes so. This is because unregulated iron supplements may damage the liver while combating iron deficiency anemia. Furthermore, large amounts of iron may also cause constipation; hence patients with iron deficiency anemia must take necessary precautions. 
  • If an underlying condition is present, people with iron deficiency may need further treatments. Treatments for underlying conditions along with iron deficiency anemia will depend on the health concern that may include antibiotics, additional medications, or surgery.

Adding more iron and vitamin C to the diet to avoid iron deficiency anemia is wise as it also avoids the need for medicine. Foods rich in iron are red meat, beans, iron-fortified cereals, dry fruits, and peas. Foods rich in vitamin C are mainly citrus-rich fruits like lemon and orange; others include foods like green leafy veggies and broccoli.

Iron deficiency anemia takes time to go away. Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia may improve after following proper week-long treatment. Still, it is vital to follow the doctor’s advice to confirm the intensity of iron deficiency anemia, add appropriate food to the diet, and know about its correct treatment.

Also See: Health Benefits Of Watermelon

FAQs About Iron Deficiency Anemia

Q1. How long does it take to bring iron levels up?

Ans. Generally, the iron reserves get back to normal after 2-3 weeks of continued intake of iron supplements. However, in some cases, it may take months to avoid recurring iron deficiency anemia. Hence it is vital to follow the recommendations of the doctor. 

Q2. How much iron is present in a normal human body?

Ans. Healthy males and females nearly have in their body 4 grams and 3.5 grams of iron, respectively. Children generally have 3 grams or less of iron present in the body. 

Q3. Can iron deficiency anemia cause hair loss?

Ans. Hair loss is a rare symptom of acute iron deficiency anemia. This symptom is unknown to health professionals though the only possible reason is the inability of hemoglobin to deliver enough nutrients to the hair cells. Hence it is vital to consume a balanced and nutrient-rich diet to avoid this symptom.

Also See: Flax Seeds Benefits for Hair and Glowing Skin

Q4. What is the fastest way to raise iron levels? 

Ans. The best and the fastest way to raise iron levels is to consume iron-rich foods daily. Adding red meat, green leafy vegetables, eggs, beans, etc., to the diet, along with cutting the junk food, can help to raise the iron levels quickly in the body.

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