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Iron Deficiency Anaemia - Symptoms and Causes

14.05.2019 Posted By : Dr Ashok Rattan Share :
Iron Deficiency Anaemia - Symptoms and Causes

Iron is very important in maintaining the many human body functions, including the production of haemoglobin, the molecules in the human blood that carries oxygen. Iron is also necessary to maintain healthy cells, nails, skin and hair.

Iron Deficiency Anaemia is a condition when the red blood cells are very few in the body due to lack of iron. Without adequate iron, in the human body, it can't produce enough of a substance in red blood cells. As a result, iron deficiency anaemia may leave a person tired and short of breath. One of the most common dietary deficiency in the world, iron deficiency anaemia generally affects children and women (particularly pregnant women). The common causes of iron deficiency include poor iron intake due to inadequate diet or restrictive diets, inflammatory bowel disease, increased requirements during pregnancy and blood loss through heavy periods or internal bleeding.

Causes of iron deficiency anaemia

If a person is not consuming enough iron, or if the person is losing too much iron, the body thus, cannot produce enough haemoglobin, and iron deficiency anaemia will eventually develop.

Causes of iron deficiency anaemia may include:

  • Blood loss: Blood contains iron within the red blood cells. So if a person loses blood, they lose some iron in that progress. Women who have heavy periods are at risk of iron deficiency anaemia because they lose excessive blood during menstruation.
  • Lack of iron in the diet: The human body regularly gets iron from the foods that they consume. If a person eats too little iron, over time the body can become iron deficient. Example of iron-rich foods includes meat, eggs, leafy green vegetables and iron-fortified foods. For proper growth and development, infants and children need a good amount of iron in their diets, too.
  • An inability to absorb iron: Iron from the food is absorbed into the human bloodstream in the small intestine. An intestinal disorder, such as celiac disease, can affect the intestine's ability to absorb nutrients from the digested food and will thus, lead to iron deficiency anaemia. If part of the small intestine has been bypassed or removed surgically, this may affect the ability to absorb iron and other nutrients.
  • Pregnancy: Without proper iron supplementation, iron deficiency anaemia occurs in many pregnant women because their iron stores need to serve their own increased blood volume as well as be a source of haemoglobin for the growing foetus.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Iron-Deficiency Anaemia?

In the beginning, iron deficiency anaemia can be mild that it may go unnoticed. But, as the body becomes scarce in iron and anaemia it worsens, the signs and symptoms may increase.

Here are the Iron deficiency anaemia signs and symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
  • Headache, dizziness or light headedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
  • Brittle nails
  • Strange cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch
  • Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anaemia

If you or your kid develops the above signs and symptoms that it’s time you book a blood test and do the Anaemia Test that includes Iron, TIBC, UIBC and Transferrin Saturation%. Find a lab near you and get the Iron tests for anaemia at the comfort of your home‎.

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