Iron deficiency anemia can be due to many factors. In this article we will see the iron deficiency symptoms, iron deficiency treatment and the foods that are rich in iron.
What is iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency is the decrease of red blood cells in the blood due to lack of iron. This is also commonly called anemia. The causes of iron deficiency can be less iron in diet, poor absorption of iron by the body or even the loss of blood.
Iron is the main component in our blood that helps in carrying oxygen across our body. Without adequate iron, our body will be unable to produce adequate hemoglobin and hence our muscles get less oxygen and that leads to less energy levels.
Iron deficiency symptoms
Just because a person feels tired he is not anemia. Here are some common iron deficiency symptoms. If you have one or more of these symptoms of low iron, please consult your doctor.
• Low energy or lack feeling fatigue and weak
• Pale skin on the eye lining, inner mouth, gums and nails
• Rapid and forceful heartbeat
• Low blood pressure when changing position like from sitting to standing up
• Finger nails are thin, brittle and white. They may also get spoon shaped look
• Extreme menstrual pain and bleeding in women
• Tongue may get sore, smooth, shiny or red
• Decrease in appetite, especially in children
• Front headache
• Shortness of breath when exercising.
• Brittle hair
• Low immunity and high vulnerability to infection
• Disturbed sleep
• Abdominal pain
These symptoms are quite general and could also indicate other health problems or blood disorders. Therefore, if a person has these symptoms he/she should talk to a doctor before taking any iron pills. Taking too much iron can actually be unhealthy.
Iron deficiency treatment
Iron deficiency treatment is possible and not very difficult also. However, if you have any of these anemia symptoms, first get a CBC (Complete blood count) done. Some other iron deficiency tests include serum ferritin or serum iron. This anemia test examines the proteins that are involved in the storage and transport of iron across the body. Stool occult blood test and TIBC (total iron binding capacity) is another common anemia test to check the severity of the problem.
Common iron deficiency treatments include:
• Taking iron supplements
• Increasing the intake of iron rich foods
• Intake of Vitamin C that helps observe iron
Foods Rich in Iron
One of the easiest and best ways to avoid iron deficiency in the first place is by the intake of foods rich in iron. Here are some foods that you must include in your diet to avoid anemia.
• Red meat
• Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
• Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
• Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas
Select food with Vitamin C
Just having iron rich food is not enough to fix iron deficiency anemia. Your body also needs to absorb the iron and this is done by Vitamin C. By just taking citrus juices along with iron supplements or food will help in better iron absorption in the body.
Vitamin C rich food
• Leafy greens
Preventing iron deficiency anemia in infants
Iron deficiency anemia can be found in infants also. The best way to avoid anemia in infants is by feeding the baby on breast milk for the first year. Another alternative is iron fortified formula if the baby is not completely on breast milk. Cow’s milk is not a good source of iron and is not recommended for babies under 1 year of age.
Once the baby is of 4-6 months, he can be fed on baby iron-fortified cereals or pureed meals at least twice a day to improve iron intake. Once the baby completes 1 year, make sure he doesn’t have more than 24 ounces of milk a day. Too much of milk intake replaces the place of other foods.
Taking the right diet along with citrus foods can help you avoid iron deficiency anemia in the first place. Start on a healthy diet today.