Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
“I can’t remember how it feels to not be tired “
Do you also feel the same? Always lethargic or no zeal to do anything, then you might be suffering from Iron deficiency anaemia.
Anaemia occurs when the level of red blood cells (RBCs) in the blood is lower than normal.
Iron –deficiency anaemia is one of the most common forms of anaemia and it occurs when the body doesn’t have enough of the mineral iron.
Our body needs iron to make a protein called haemoglobin. This protein is responsible for carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues and is essential for the tissues and muscles to function effectively. When there isn’t enough iron in the blood stream, the rest of the body cannot get the amount of oxygen it requires.
Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency
In the initially stages iron deficiency anaemia can be so mild that it goes unnoticed. But as the body becomes more deficient with iron, anaemia worsens; the signs and symptoms also deepen.The common signs and symptoms include:
Extreme fatigue and exhaustion
This is the most common sign of iron deficiency anaemia. It indicates that the body is having trouble carrying oxygen to the cells, so it’s affecting the energy levels.
It’s time to get you checked!
Suffering from frequent infections?
Then you must get yourself checked for anaemia. Iron plays a key role in boosting your immunity levels. So, low iron levels can make a person more susceptible to infections.
Lack of oxygen can cause the muscles to enlarge and become painful. Cracks on the side of the lips are also common.
Keep a check on your lips and tongue!
Haemoglobin provides the rosy colour to our cheeks. Hence, if they are low levels of iron in the body, it makes the skin looks dull and pale. This pale skin is easier to detect in people with lighter complexions, but no matter what the skin tone, if the area inside the bottom of the eyelid is lighter than normal, then it may be a sign of iron deficiency anaemia.
Time to keep a check on your skin colour and get your iron deficiency test right away!
Restless leg syndrome
People suffering from iron deficiency sometimes develop restless legs syndrome. This is a disorder that can cause a person to have a strong urge to move their legs. This urge often comes with an unpleasant, crawling sensation in the legs and makes it difficult to sleep.
Don’t ignore this sign!
Headache and shortness of breath, mostly while exercising
Patient suffering from anaemia are most likely to suffer from headache, light-headedness, and shortness of breath mostly while standing up suddenly or following any physical exertion. This is because the body’s tissues and organs lack the adequate blood and oxygen to function efficiently.
It is a sign you are suffering from Anaemia!
People suffering from iron deficiency may develop a sudden craving for non-food substances, such as clay, dirt, or chalk, a condition known as pica.
Crave for these substances, just get yourself checked!
Other symptoms are:
- Cold hands and feet
- Hair loss
- Inflammation or soreness of tongue
- Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
- Brittle nails
- Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anaemia
Causes Of Iron Deficiency
There are many reasons for iron deficiency. The common iron deficiency causes are:
- Inadequate iron intake
- Having heavy menstrual bleeding
- Suffering from internal bleeding. This could be because of ulcers, haemorrhoids or cancer
- Iron is not well absorbed in the body.
Test And Treatment Of Iron Deficiency
Iron test is done to check the amount of iron in the blood, to see how well iron is metabolized in the body. The healthy or normal iron level in our body lies between 20 and 80 ng/ml.
- Below 20: Person is iron deficient
- Above 80: person has surplus of iron
So now the question that arises is what can I do if I have low iron levels?
Iron deficiency anaemia can be treated by:
- Iron deficiency treatment food: It can be treated and prevented by eating foods rich in iron, on daily basis. Iron-rich foods include meats, vegetables, and whole grains such as iron-fortified cereals.
- Iron supplement pills are advised by the treating doctor.
- If pregnant: Anaemia can be prevented by taking pre-natal vitamins that include iron. These should be taken under the supervision of the treating doctor.
Don’t forget to eat Vitamin C with iron rich food, to stay away from Iron–deficiency anaemia!
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