WHAT IS IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA?
Iron deficiency anemia occurs due to iron loss, haemoglobin not being able to be formed, or when the absorption or dietary intake of iron is insufficient.
If you have a deficiency, you are lacking in a particular substance needed by the body.
Anemia occurs when a person have fewer red blood cells than normal, or when a person have less hemoglobin than normal in each red blood cell resulting in a reduced amount of oxygen being carried around in the bloodstream.
The most common cause of anemia in the UK is a lack of iron. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin. Anemia caused by a lack of iron is called iron deficiency anemia.
CAUSES of iron deficiency anemia
Bleeding in the stomach and intestine. This can result from ulcer, cancer, pregnancy, mal-absorption (when your body cannot absorb the iron from your food), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ‘NSAIDs’ (Ibuprofen and aspirin are two commonly prescribed NSAIDs), hematuria (blood in your urine), blood donation, nosebleeds, esophagitis, trauma (e.g. from a serious accident),etc.
Diet - not including enough iron containing food and vegetables in our diet.
SYMPTOMS of iron deficiency anemia are:
A sore on the tongue, an abnormally smooth tongue (atrophic glossitis), headache, painful ulcers (open sores) on the corners of your mouth (angular cheilitis), shortness of breath (dyspnoea), dry & flaking nails, tinnitus (such as a ringing in your ears), palpitations (irregular heartbeat), pica (which is a desire to eat non-food items, such as ice, paper or clay), difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), spoon-shaped nails, etc.
If you experience symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, please see your GP for a diagnosis and treatment.
Essential ingredients for a healthy red blood cell are:
1. Iron, which is found in Red Meat, Fish, Poultry, Lentils, Beans, Black-eyed Peas and in Beefy Drinks such as Bovril.
2. Vitamin B12, which is found naturally in meat, fish, milk, butter, eggs, etc.
3. Folate (folic acid), which is found in leafy vegetables, peas, dried beans, marmite, vegemite, breakfast cereals, bread etc
Therefore to treat iron deficiency anemia, you may need
1. Iron supplements e.g. ferrous sulphate
2. Diet i.e. eating iron rich foods like
• dark-green leafy vegetables, such as watercress and curly kale
• iron-fortified bread
Note that some foods may make it difficult to absorb iron, these food may include tea/coffee, wholegrain cereals, calcium, antacids (medication to help relieve indigestion) etc.
In conclusion, see your doctor if you suspect you might have iron deficiency anemia (for help with diagnosis and treatment).
By Healthy Wellbeing.
1. Goddard AF, James MW, McIntyre AS, Scott BB; on behalf of the British Society of Gastroenterology, Guidelines for the management of iron deficiency anemia
Accessed 30th July 2011
2. Links to science
Pasricha SR, Flecknoe-Brown SC, Allen KJ, Gibson PR, McMahon LP, Olynyk JK, Roger SD, Savoia HF, Tampi R, Thomson AR, Wood EM, Robinson KL.
Diagnosis and management of iron deficiency anemia: a clinical update (Publmed.gov).
Accessed 28th July 2011
3. NHS Choices, Anemia Iron DEFICIENCY, http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anaemia-iron-deficiency-/Pages/Treatment.aspx
Accessed 30th July 2011