Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Medical experts say one third of global population has anemia due to iron deficiency. You can well imagine the situation in our country where malnutrition and under nutrition are rampant.
Iron is by far the most important requirement for haemoglobin and red cell formation.
Iron deficiency is common in women, pregnant and otherwise, children, elderly, vegetarians and persons who have chronic illnesses or conditions that impair food intake like mentally ill or subnormal.
Young women are especially prone for anemia due to excessive iron loss during monthly periods, not made up by adequate iron intake.
In men the reasons could be different like blood loss from piles or ulcers or tumours in the gut.
Even though we need only micrograms of iron daily for healthy blood still anemia occurs because of food fads, low absorption of plant based iron or gut diseases like diarrhoeas, infections and so on.
Making a diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia is the first step, but finding out why? may not be easy.
You should also know that low iron causes poor heart function, muscle weakness, low birthweight babies, miscarriages and repeated infections due to poor immunity.
When a patient has very low iron status as shown by low ferritin levels, the important thing is not to give blood but iron in adequate quantities.
Iron injections are the best way to address the problem.
Diet advice and tablets are also necessary to maintain body iron levels.
Iron is always given intravenously and extremely useful in pregnancy and elderly people.
Iron tablets are sometimes problematic due to stomach irritation or constipation.
Rarely some persons tend to become anemic repeatedly and will need gastro eneterologic assessment to pick up rare causes of anemia.
Iron deficiency specifically causes hair loss, brittle and flat nails that crack easily, low moods, lack of concentration and suboptimal academic performance.
When these symptoms happen in young people, it’s almost always iron deficiency.
Haematologists confirm iron deficiency by a test which measures a protein called Ferritin in blood.
Coexisting protein malnutrition, thyroid problems and food fads compound the anemia.
Iron rich diets can help maintain ferritin stores after adequate medical treatment.
But diet alone is not enough to solve this problem.
In children regular medication to eradicate worms in the gut goes a long way in prevention of anemia.