The body uses iron to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body.
Iron deficiency anemia or iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which there are very few red blood cells in the body due to a shortage of iron.
Without enough iron, there can be very few healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to meet the body’s needs.
The result of this situation is called iron deficiency anemia (iron deficiency anemia), which can leave a person extremely tired and out of breath.
Iron-deficiency anemia is defined as a decrease in the total body iron content. Iron deficiency anemia occurs when iron deficiency is severe enough to decrease erythropoiesis and cause the development of anemia.
Ferropriva anemia is the most prevalent individual deficiency state worldwide. It is economically important because it decreases the ability of people who are affected to perform physical work, and decreases growth and learning in children.
Posthemorrhagic anemia is analyzed because it is a major cause of iron deficiency.
The acute and potentially catastrophic problems of hypoxia and shock that can occur from major hemorrhage or severe iron deficiency is an important issue, however, daily blood losses may be small and may be overlooked.
Other groups at high risk for iron deficiency anemia include the following:
- Adolescents with heavy menstrual bleeding
- Patients with congestive heart failure.
- Kidney transplant recipients.
- Elite runners and triathletes.
Occasionally, patients with severe iron deficiency anemia due to slow but persistent gastrointestinal bleeding have repeatedly negative hemoglobin feces. Therefore, it is important that the clinician knows the characteristics of the anemia at all intervals after the onset of bleeding.
What is anemia?
When there are not enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin in the body, this is called anemia. Anemia is a blood condition that is characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that binds to oxygen. When the body does not have enough circulating hemoglobin, not enough oxygen reaches all parts of the body.
As a result, the organs and tissues may not function properly and a person may feel fatigued.
Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the body does not have enough iron to produce the hemoglobin it needs.
What causes iron deficiency?
Iron-deficiency anemia is directly related to the lack of iron in the body. The cause of iron deficiency varies, however.
Some common causes include:
- Bad diet or insufficient iron in the diet.
- Loss of blood.
- A lower ability to absorb iron.
- The pregnancy.
Diets that lack iron are the main cause of iron deficiency.
Foods rich in iron, such as eggs and meat, provide the body with much of the iron it needs to produce hemoglobin. If a person does not eat enough to maintain their iron supply, an iron deficiency can develop.
Loss of blood
Iron is found mainly in the blood, as it is stored in red blood cells. An iron deficiency can occur when a person loses a lot of blood from an injury, delivery or heavy menstruation.
In some cases, the slow loss of blood from chronic diseases or some cancers can lead to an iron deficiency.
Decreased ability to absorb iron
Some people can not absorb enough iron from the food they eat. This may be due to a problem with the small intestine, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease , or if a portion of the small intestine has been removed.
Low iron levels are a common problem for pregnant women. The growing fetus needs a lot of iron, which can lead to an iron deficiency.
Also, a pregnant woman has a greater amount of blood in her body. This large volume of blood requires more iron to meet your needs. Risk factors for developing iron deficiency anemia
Some groups of people have an increased risk of developing iron deficiency anemia. Groups that are at risk include:
Vegetarians : People, like vegetarians, who eat a vegetable-based diet, may lack iron.
To combat this, they should make sure to include iron-rich foods, such as beans or fortified cereals. Vegetarians who also eat seafood should consider oysters or salmon, as part of their usual diet.
Women : monthly menstrual cycles can put women and adolescents at an increased risk of iron deficiency.
Blood donors : people who donate blood regularly increase their chances of developing an iron deficiency. This is due to the frequent loss of blood.
Babies and children : premature babies and those with low birth weight may be at risk for iron deficiencies. Also, babies who do not get enough iron through breast milk are at greater risk.
A doctor may advise a breastfeeding woman to add iron-rich formula to her baby’s diet if her iron levels are low.
Likewise, children who go through periods of growth have a higher risk of iron deficiency. It is important that children consume a varied diet rich in nutrients to help prevent iron deficiencies.
Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia (iron deficiency anemia)
Iron deficiency anemia often takes a long time to develop. People may not know they have it until the symptoms are severe.
In some cases, an iron deficiency can improve without intervention, as a person’s situation changes, such as after a woman has given birth.
However, if a person has any symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, they should talk to their doctor.
A person with an iron deficiency can have some of the following symptoms:
- General weakness
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Extreme fatigue
- Accelerated heartbeat.
- Broken and brittle nails easily.
- Skin paler than normal.
- Chest pain.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Cold hands and feet.
- Pain or swelling of the tongue.
- Cravings for non-nutritious things, such as earth, starch or ice.
- Lack of appetite, especially in children.
In milder cases of iron deficiency anemia, it is unlikely that a person has more than the normal symptoms described above. However, additional complications may occur if iron deficiency anemia is not treated.
Possible complications include:
- Slow growth and delays in the development of children and babies.
- Heart problems, including heart failure or an enlarged heart because it makes up for the lack of oxygen.
- Complications of pregnancy, including low birth weight and an increased risk of premature birth.
A blood test may be required to diagnose blood deficiency anemia.
Only a doctor can diagnose iron deficiency anemia. It is important that a person seek advice from a medical professional if they have notable symptoms.
A doctor is likely to start the test by asking questions about a person’s general health. They can examine the tone of the skin, the fingernails and under the eyelids to look for physical signs of iron deficiency anemia.
However, since iron deficiency anemia does not always have visible symptoms, a blood test will probably be needed.
A doctor will check blood for the following:
- The hematocrit or the percentage of red blood cells in the total blood volume.
- Size and color of red blood cells, looking especially for smaller pale cells.
- Low levels of ferritin where the shortage of this protein indicates a poor storage of iron in the blood.
- Lower hemoglobin levels that are associated with iron deficiency.
A doctor may ask more questions or perform additional tests to help determine if iron deficiency anemia is the result of an underlying undiagnosed condition.
These tests may vary, depending on other symptoms that a person describes. For example, someone who experiences pain during digestion may need a colonoscopy to see if a gastrointestinal illness is the cause of iron deficiency.
Iron deficiency anemia is usually treated in two ways, which involves increasing your iron intake and treating any underlying conditions.
The treatment of iron deficiency anemia consists of correcting the underlying etiology and replenishing iron stores. Iron therapy is as follows:
- Oral ferrous iron salts are the most economical and effective way.
- Ferrous sulfate is the most commonly used iron salt.
- Better absorption and lower morbidity for other iron salts has been claimed.
- The toxicity is generally proportional to the amount of iron available for absorption.
- Reserve parenteral iron for patients who can not absorb iron orally or who have increasing anemia despite adequate doses of oral iron.
- Reserve transfusion of packed red blood cells for patients who are experiencing significant acute bleeding or who are in danger of hypoxia and / or coronary insufficiency .
Doctors may recommend the use of iron supplements to help correct iron intake levels. Supplements are often available over the counter.
It is important to take the supplements as prescribed. This is because too much iron can be toxic and damage the liver.
In addition, large amounts of iron can cause constipation. As a result, a doctor may prescribe stool softeners or laxatives to facilitate bowel movements.
If an underlying condition is found, more treatment may be needed. Treatments for the underlying conditions will depend on the problem, but may mean additional medications, antibiotics, or surgery.
Self-management involves adding more iron and vitamin C to the diet. Foods rich in iron include beans, red meat, dried fruits, iron-fortified cereals and peas. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and broccoli.
If a person decides to self-manage or follow the recommendations of a doctor, it is important to remember that correcting the iron deficiency will take time. Symptoms may improve after a week of treatment, but it may take several months or more to increase the supply of iron in the blood.
Demographics related to age
Healthy newborns have a total body iron of 250 mg (80 ppm), which is obtained from maternal sources. This decreases to approximately 60 ppm in the first 6 months of life, while the baby consumes a dairy diet deficient in iron.
Babies who consume cow’s milk have a higher incidence of iron deficiency because bovine milk has a higher concentration of calcium, which competes with iron for absorption.
Subsequently, growing children should obtain approximately 0.5 mg more iron per day than what is lost to maintain a normal body concentration of 60 ppm.
During adult life, the balance between loss and gain of the body is maintained. Children are more likely to develop iron deficiency anemia.
In certain geographic areas, hookworm adds to the problem. Children are more likely to walk on the floor without shoes and develop heavy infestations.
During the fertile years, women have a high incidence of iron deficiency anemia due to iron losses with pregnancies and menses.
Gastrointestinal neoplasms become increasingly prevalent with each decade of life. They often present with digestive hemorrhage that can remain hidden for long intervals before it is detected.
In general, the bleeding of neoplasms in other organs is not hidden, which leads the patient to seek medical attention before developing a severe iron depletion. To investigate the etiology of iron deficiency anemia to evaluate a neoplasm.
Demographic data related to sex
An adult male absorbs and loses approximately 1 mg of iron from a diet containing 10-20 mg per day.
During the fertile years, an adult female loses an average of 2 mg of iron daily and must absorb a similar amount of iron to maintain balance.
Because the average woman eats less than the average man, she must be more than twice as efficient at absorbing iron from the diet to maintain balance and prevent the development of iron deficiency anemia.
Healthy males lose body iron in the detached epithelium, in the secretions of the skin and lining of the intestine, and from small daily losses of blood from the gastrointestinal tract (0.7 ml per day).
Cumulatively, this equals 1 mg of iron. Men with severe siderosis of blood transfusions can lose a maximum of 4 mg per day through these routes without additional blood loss.
A woman loses approximately 500 mg of iron with each pregnancy. Menstrual losses are very variable, ranging from 10 to 250 ml (4-100 mg of iron) per period.
These iron losses in women double their need to absorb iron compared to men.
A special effort must be made to identify and treat iron deficiency during pregnancy and early childhood due to the effects of severe iron deficiency on learning ability, growth and development.
Demographic data related to race
The race probably does not have a significant effect on the occurrence of iron deficiency anemia.
However, because diet and socioeconomic factors play a role in the prevalence of iron deficiency, it is most often seen in people of diverse racial backgrounds living in the poorest areas of the world.
Prognosis of iron deficiency anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is an easily treated disorder with excellent results, however, it can be caused by an underlying condition with a poor prognosis, such as a neoplasm .
Similarly, the prognosis may be altered by a comorbid disease, such as coronary artery disease. Treat early and adequately a patient with iron deficiency anemia that is symptomatic with such comorbid conditions.
Chronic iron deficiency anemia is rarely a direct cause of death; however, moderate or severe iron deficiency anemia can produce enough hypoxia to aggravate the underlying pulmonary and cardiovascular disorders.
Hypoxic deaths have been observed in patients who reject blood transfusions for religious reasons. Obviously, with rapid hemorrhage, patients may die from hypoxia related to posthemorrhagic anemia.
While various symptoms, such as chewing ice and leg cramps, occur with iron deficiency, the greatest weakness of moderately severe iron deficiency is fatigue and muscle dysfunction that affects the performance of muscle work.
In children, the growth rate can be reduced and less learning capacity is reported. In young children, severe iron-deficiency anemia is associated with a lower IQ, a diminished learning ability, and a suboptimal growth rate.
Patient education on iron-deficiency anemia
The education of physicians is necessary to guarantee a greater awareness of iron deficiency and the necessary tests to establish the diagnosis in an adequate manner.
Medical education is also necessary to investigate the etiology of iron-deficiency anemia.
Public health officials in geographical regions where iron deficiency prevails should be aware of the importance of iron deficiency, its effect on work performance and the importance of providing iron during pregnancy and childhood.
The addition of iron to staple foods is used in these areas to reduce the problem.