What is Iron deficiency Anaemia?

 Iron deficiency is the health condition in which there are very low healthy red blood cells. Our body needs iron to make haemoglobin. This deficiency is very common in women across the globe.

Causes of Iron Deficiency Anaemia (1, 2)

  • Inadequate Diet:  The most common cause of iron deficiency in our body is lack of iron rich food item in body either due to unavailability or financial constraints.
  • Heavy Bleeding During Menstruation: During menstruation period some women experience heavy bleeding which reduces the overall blood in our system and causes RBC deficiency.
  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy foetus require essential micronutrients for the growth and development which leads to micronutrient deficiency in pregnant mother.
  • Lactation: It is often observed the deficiency in lactating mothers due to excessive utilisation of micronutrients.
  • Internal Bleeding: If an individual of ulcers, cancers or any short of intestinal disorders, these may cause loss of blood for prolonged period and develops the case of anaemia.
  • Gastrointestinal Surgery: With our current lifestyle and food habits, bariatric surgery is very common. However, any GI surgeries will affect the absorption of iron in your body.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anaemia (3)

Anaemia causes various changes in our body which can help in identifying its possible causes.

  • Headaches
  • Nausea,
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Pale skins
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Heavy Bleeding during Menstruation
  • Internal Bleeding

These symptoms indicate the underlying condition of Anaemia however, medical consultation and if required some diagnostic tests will be needed for the confirmation.

Diagnostic Tests for Iron Deficiency Anaemia

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): The CBC test gives the overall blood count and other attributes in our system like red blood cell (RBC), white blood cell (WBC), haemoglobin, hematocrits. We don’t need any preparations for CBC test.

Based on the results of CBC your medical expert may suggest further test to asses the severity of anaemia in your body. Some of the test include:

  • Shape, Size and Colour of RBC
  • Total Iron Binding Capacity (TBIC)
  • Ferritin Level

Health Risks due to Iron Deficiency Anaemia (2)

  • Heart Disease: Anaemia causes decrease in oxygen level in blood which makes heart to pump faster in order to supply enough oxygen to the cells. It may lead to heart failure and enlargement of heart over longer duration.
  • Complication in Childbearing: It’s often observed that anaemia diagnosed women have difficult in childbearing due to heavy blood loss during menstruation and even after conception and causes miscarriages.
  • Complications During Pregnancy: Anaemia affects the prenatal growth and development of foetus and it may cause even premature birth.
  • Child with Low Birth Weight: The infants born with mother with anaemic condition born with low birth weight. It might me because inadequate development during foetus stage.
  • Delayed Growth and Development: It causes stunting and results in delayed physical delayed sexual development in adolescents.
  • Immunity Deficiency: Reduced immunity is common cause of anaemia and causes frequent infections in body.

Remedies of Iron Deficiency Anaemia

  • Iron Supplements: Iron tablets should be used as supplements to curbed severe anaemic condition. Government of several developing many countries provide iron tablets for adolescent and pregnant women through various schemes.
  • Iron Rich Diet: Iron rich food items will help in minimising the iron rich deficiency. Some of the iron rich food items are oyster, white beans, spinach, lentils, tofu, cashews, whole grain.
  • Fortified Food Items: Several agricultural lands across the globe are poor in micronutrients which will serve nutrient deficient food produces. Fortified seeds will help in providing nutrient rich agriculture produce.
  • Vitamin C Intake: Vitamin C affects the absorption of iron in the body. Taking vitamin rich diets will boost the absorption of iron and help in curbing anaemia.
  • Internal Bleeding: The case of internal bleeding should be addressed immediately through experienced medical experts. As it may be caused by several underlying health conditions.

Prevention of Iron Deficiency Anaemia

It is often said that “Prevention is better than Cure” and indeed this is very much true with reference to micronutrient deficiencies. Iron deficiency can be prevented through consumption of iron rich and vitamin C rich healthy diet.

Iron rich food item are enlisted below:

  • Seafood
  • oyster,
  • Meat, Pork, Chicken
  • Eggs
  • White beans
  • Spinach
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Cashew
  • Whole grain
  • Fortified Grains

Vitamin C rich food item are enlisted below:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Bell peppers
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Spinach, 
  • Cabbage
  • Tomato juice
  • Broccoli

Adequate Intake (>19 yrs.):

We should main the recommended daily intake (RDA) of iron. The RDA for and adult is 8-18 mg. 

Summary

Iron deficiency anaemia should not be ignored, it’s the indication of several underlying health condition as well as chronic anaemia may cause several health issues. It should be addressed on priority with some experienced medical experts.

Individual should avoid self-treatment in case of anaemia. Although there are many known means of is remedies, but excessive iron dosages may have adverse effect on the body.