Iron deficiency anemia | causes & symptoms | how can you prevent & treatment | food sources for iron

Iron deficiency anemia means that your body does not have enough iron. Your body needs iron to help carry oxygen through your blood to all parts of your body. Iron deficiency anemia affects more women than men and is more common during pregnancy

There are few causes of iron deficiency.

Insufficient iron in food,

For iron to be absorbed from the gastric intestinal tract there must be intrinsic factors (substances that aid iron absorption ) this factors include folic acid and vitamin b12 so any reduction in that factors iron will not be absorbed well although it is in food in food taken.

Iron is needed in hemoglobin of blood so may be the patient had increase in red blood cells destruction so the food iron cannot afford that reduction of iron

When Red blood cells die, its iron part of hemoglobin recycled by the body to benefited from that iron in producing new red blood cells with great value so if a dysfunction in the mechanism of recycling the body will need large amount of iron intake

The iron in the body has redox number or oxidizing form to do its job so if the iron present but without the needed oxidizing form it is with no value .ex: the iron in hemoglobin is ferrous so if changed to ferric it will not be able to do its work or do with little efficiency.

May be iron is in food but there is another agent that inhibits its absorption or compete with it for the sites of absorption

Presence of chelating agents can inhibit iron absorption by forming complexes that are not absorbable

  1. Inadequate iron intake: Eating too little iron over an extended amount of time can cause a shortage in your body.

  2. Pregnancy or blood loss due to menstruation: Heavy menstrual bleeding and blood loss during childbirth are the most common causes of iron deficiency anemia in women of childbearing age.

  3. Internal bleeding: Examples include an ulcer in your stomach, polyps in the colon or intestines, or colon cancer. Regular use of pain relievers, such as aspirin, can also cause bleeding in the stomach.

  4. Inability to absorb iron: Certain disorders or surgeries that affect the intestines can also interfere with how your body absorbs iron.

  5. Endometriosis: If a woman has endometriosis she may have heavy blood loss that she cannot see because it is hidden in the abdominal or pelvic area.

How can prevent iron deficiency anemia?

  1. 1. Treat the cause of blood loss. ...

  2. 2. Eat foods with iron. ...

  3. 3. Eat and drink foods that help your body absorb iron, like orange juice, strawberries, broccoli, or other fruits and vegetables with vitamin C.

  4. 4. Make healthy food choices. ...

  5. 5. Avoid drinking coffee or tea with meals.

Treatment for iron deficiency anemia depends on the cause:

Blood loss from a digestive system problem. If you have an ulcer, your doctor may give you antibiotics or other medicine to treat the ulcer. If your bleeding is caused by a polyp or cancerous tumor, you may need surgery to remove it.

Blood loss from heavy menstrual periods. Your doctor may give you hormonal birth control to help relieve heavy periods. If your heavy bleeding does not get better, your doctor may recommend surgery. Types of surgery to control heavy bleeding include endometrial ablation, which removes or destroys your uterine lining, and hysterectomy, which removes all or parts of your uterus.

Increased need for iron. If you have problems absorbing iron or have lower iron levels but do not have severe anemia, your doctor may recommend: Iron pills to build up your iron levels as quickly as possible. Do not take any iron pills without first talking to your doctor or nurse. Eating more foods that contain iron. Good sources of iron.

Include meat, fish, eggs, beans, peas, and fortified foods (look for cereals fortified with 100% of the daily value for iron). Eating more foods with vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. Good sources of vitamin C include oranges, broccoli, and tomatoes.

If you have severe bleeding or symptoms of chest pain or shortness of breath, your doctor may recommend iron or red blood cell transfusions. Transfusions are for severe iron deficiencies only and are much less common.

If left untreated, iron deficiency anemia can cause serious health problems. Having too little oxygen in the body can damage organs. With anemia, the heart must work harder to make up for the lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin. This extra work can harm the heart.

Iron deficiency anemia can also cause problems during pregnancy

Food sources of iron include:

  • · Fortified breakfast cereals (18 milligrams per serving)

  • · Oysters (8 milligrams per 3-ounce serving)

  • · Canned white beans (8 milligrams per cup)

  • · Dark chocolate (7 milligrams per 3-ounce serving)

  • · Beef liver (5 milligrams per 3-ounce serving)

  • · Spinach (3 milligrams per ½ cup)

  • · Tofu, firm (3 milligrams per ½ cup)

  • · Kidney beans (2 milligrams per ½ cup)

  • · Canned tomatoes (2 milligrams per ½ cup)

  • · Lean beef (2 milligrams for a 3-ounce serving

  • · Baked potato (2 milligrams for a medium potato)

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