Iron-deficiency anemia

What is iron-deficiency anemia?

Iron-deficiency anemia is a type of anemia that occurs when the body lacks sufficient iron in the blood. It is characterized by low red blood cell or hemoglobin levels. Iron regulates the production of red blood cells. Thus iron deficiency will affect the red blood cell production which in turn affects the oxygen supply to the body's tissue.

What causes iron-deficiency anemia?

The cause of iron deficiency can be any of the three mentioned below.

  • Insufficient dietary iron
  • Problems with iron absorption
  • Excessive menstrual bleeding

What are the symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia?

If you are anemic, it reflects in your appearance. You would look pale. Dry nails, lack of energy, concentration problems, light-headedness, grumpiness and breathing problems are the other common symptoms associated with iron deficiency anemia.

How is iron deficiency anemia diagnosed?

Iron deficiency anemia can be diagnosed with a simple blood test and a few tests to measure the iron levels. Smaller and paler red blood cells are also an indicator of anemia. Additional tests such as endoscopy, colonoscopy and ultrasound may also be recommended to find out the cause of anemia. Infants, pregnant and breast feeding women are at high risk of iron deficiency anemia.

How is iron deficiency anemia treated?

Iron deficiency anemia is treated with iron supplements. Additional treatments may also be recommended if the underlying cause of iron deficiency is identified.

Treatment cost

Treatment of iron deficiency anemia won’t cost more than a few dollars and hence is affordable.

How to prevent iron deficiency anemia?

Follow a diet that provides adequate amount of iron. Red meat, pork, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots, poultry, seafood, beans, iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas and peas are rich sources of iron. However meat is often recommended since the body’s iron absorption from meat is high as compared to other sources. Include foods rich in vitamin c as well. It can speed up your body’s iron absorption. Cow’s milk is not considered as a good source of iron for infants so better avoid giving it to infants under 1 year.