What is it and what are its causes?Anemia is an insufficient amount of red blood cells in the bloodstream and iron deficiency anemia is where there is a lack of iron in the blood. You need iron in your blood to make hemoglobin, which contributes in distributing oxygen to tissues from the lungs.
One of the most common causes of iron deficiency anemia is an inadequate intake of iron in your diet. Another possible cause of iron deficiency anemia is bleeding, be this because of an injury or because of menstrual bleeding. It can also be caused by gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers or colon cancer. Iron deficiency anemia, however, may also be due to growth spurt or pregnancy.
Symptoms:Some of the symptoms that anemic people might experience include; pale skin colour, fatigue, headaches, lack of appetite, unusual food cravings, brittle nails, weakness, shortness of breath and a sore tongue. These symptoms may not also we evident, since they do not usually show up prominently in people with mild iron deficiency anemia.
Treatment:Most people who are diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia take iron pills (iron sulfate) for approximately six months. After two months there blood should have its proper iron level back, but just to make sure the pills are followed through for another couple of months. This treatment is continued to replenish the iron stored in the bone marrow. About 30% of all the iron in your body is stored in your bone marrow, so it is important you replenish these stores as well. After this treatment you should be fine, but people in high risk groups should go for regular check-ups. Older people may have to be more closely monitored or receive different treatment if their iron loss is due to something else, such as an ulcer.
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Prevention:Iron deficiency anemia can in most cases be easily prevented, since its main cause is an inadequate intake of iron in your diet. Some iron rich foods are meats, legumes, raisins, egg yolks, broccoli and whole-wheat bread. Also vitamin C can help. Vitamin C aids with the absorption of iron.
You can also have a too high intake of iron. This is called Hemochromatosis. In hemoglobin test this also shows up as there being too little hemoglobin. Hemochromatosis can be fatal and is one the largest contributors to poisoning deaths.
ICON health publication, Iron deficiency anemia, San Diego, ICON health publicationshttp://www.bloodbook.com/iron-foods.htmlwww.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000584.htmwww.emedicine.com/med/topic1188.htmhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_deficiency_anemiawww.umm.edu/blood/aneiron.htm