What Is Iron Deficiency Anaemia?

Iron deficiency anaemia is a common form of anaemia in which blood can lack adequate healthy red blood cells. These red blood cells are in charge of carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues. Iron deficiency anaemia is due to insufficient iron levels. Without enough iron, the body struggles to produce enough of a substance in red blood cells. As a result, iron deficiency anaemia can leave you fatigued or suffering from more severe side effects.

You can typically improve iron deficiency anaemia with daily iron supplements. On more severe occasions, professional tests or treatments for iron deficiency anaemia can be taken.

Main causes of iron deficiency

Limited iron intake

Getting too little iron over an extended amount of time can cause a shortage in the body. Eating foods such as meat, eggs, and green vegetables can provide added iron. Because iron is essential during growth and development, pregnant women are recommended to include more iron-rich foods in their diet. 

Iron levels can also be increased through daily vitamins and a good level of sun exposure.

Pregnancy or menstrual cycles

Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common cause of iron-deficiency anaemia in women during periods and pregnancy. Because a woman’s body needs high iron levels during this time, if these needs are not met, it could possibly lead to iron deficiency. 

Inability to absorb iron

Certain health conditions or surgeries that affect the intestines can possibly interfere with how the body absorbs iron. Even if you get enough iron through your diet, celiac disease or intestinal surgery can limit the amount of iron your body absorbs.

anaemia symptoms

Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia

Iron deficiency anaemia can have such mild conditions, it can easily go unnoticed. If iron deficiency gets to a certain level, there can however be more serious side effects depending on the person. 

There symptoms might include: 

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Bone and joint weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Poor appetite

Who is at risk of iron deficiency anaemia?

Although iron deficiency can affect anyone, anywhere, there are certain groups of people who are more likely to suffer from severe cases or symptoms. 

Women : When women lose blood during menstruation, this makes them, in general, more at risk of iron deficiency.

Infants and children : Infants who are born with a low birth weight or born prematurely, who don’t get enough iron from breast milk or formula could be at risk of iron deficiency. Children in general require extra iron during growth periods.

Vegetarians : Those who don’t eat meat can be at  greater risk as they don’t eat enough iron-rich foods.

Frequent blood donors : People who routinely donate blood may have an increased risk of iron deficiency anaemia as this can deplete iron stores. 

iron tablets

How to prevent iron deficiency 

As iron deficiency anaemia is caused by natural circumstances, luckily there are a few easy steps to prevent it from happening or getting to a point of harm. 

  • By talking to a professional, they can offer help or advice to treat the cause of blood loss. If you’re losing blood through heavy menstrual periods or digestive system problems, there will be medication out there to help.
  • Eating foods with iron is a quick and easy way to get it into your system. Good sources of iron include eating plenty of lean meat, chicken, leafy vegetables, and beans.This is also related to 
  • Find iron supplements which work for you. These can provide a good level of iron in addition to your daily natural dose. 

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