Iron deficiency anemia occurs due to a lack of iron in the body. The blood cannot produce sufficient healthy red blood cells, which transport oxygen (hemoglobin) to the body's tissues, leaving you tired and short of breath.
Iron supplements are used to regulate iron deficiency anemia. Some extra examinations or procedures might be necessary when your doctor suspects that you're bleeding internally.
Iron deficiency anemia may start with mild and unnoticeable signs. But when anemia worsens, the condition may intensify, causing extreme fatigue, pale skin, and weakness, chest pain, headache, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath, dizziness, or lightheadedness. The other common symptoms may include poor appetite, cold hands, and feet, brittle nails, inflammation or soreness of the tongue, sudden cravings for non-nutritive substances, like ice, dirt, or starch.
When you detect signs of iron deficiency anemia in you or your kids, talk to the doctor for a diagnosis and don't take iron supplements by yourself. Excessive iron in the body is risky as more iron buildup damages the liver and results in other complications.
When the body doesn't have sufficient iron to produce hemoglobin, iron deficiency anemia happens. Hemoglobin lets the red blood cells transport oxygenated blood everywhere in your body. When consumption of iron is less, or iron is being lost, the body can't produce enough hemoglobin, gradually developing iron-deficiency anemia.
People who are more prone to iron deficiency anemia are:
A moderate condition of iron deficiency anemia is generally not a cause complication, but when untreated for long, it may get severe, resulting in health problems like:
Heart problems. Iron deficiency anemia may lead to a fast or abnormal heartbeat that happens to pump more blood to offset the shortage of oxygen transported in your blood due to being anemic. It results in causing an enlarged heart or heart failure.
Problems during pregnancy. During pregnancy, severe iron deficiency anemia may lead to premature births and low birth weight babies. Taking iron supplements can prevent this occurrence.
Growth problems. Severe iron deficiency causes anemia and delayed growth and development in infants and children. It also causes them to be increasingly sensitive to infections.
These food habits can help reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia:
Add iron-rich foods to your diet like red meat, pork and poultry, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach, dried fruit, like raisins and apricots, peas and iron-fortified cereals, bread and pasta. Boost your intake of iron-rich, plant-based foods to get sufficient iron in the body if you are vegetarian.
Select foods containing vitamin C as it improves iron absorption in the body. Drink citrus juice like orange juice or eat foods rich in vitamin C like kiwi, leafy greens, broccoli, grapefruit, melons, oranges, peppers, strawberries, tangerines and tomatoes when you eat high-iron foods.
For infants, breastfeeding and iron-fortified formula for the first year helps. After age six months, the baby can be fed iron-fortified cereals or pureed meats at least twice a day to boost iron intake. And post one year, children must not drink over 20 ounces (591 milliliters) of milk a day but instead have other foods that are rich in iron.