Iron deficiency happens to be one of the most common nutritional deficiencies faced by women around the world. The absence of enough iron in the body can deprive the red blood cells from receiving the required amount of hemoglobin they need to supply oxygen to the different parts of the body.
Hence, a reduction in iron levels will affect the entire system, eventually leading to anemia and other serious health ailments. It is therefore, considered essential to treat iron deficiency as early as possible to thwart these problems.
Causes of iron deficiency
Some of the more common causes for iron deficiency include:
- Lack of dietary iron
The body requires a regular supply of iron which is mostly derived from the foods that you eat. Not following a proper diet will limit the amount of iron you get from the foods you eat. This, in turn, can lead to iron deficiency.
- Blood loss
Losing blood in an injury or accident can lead to blood loss. Since red blood cells contain iron, the loss of blood would lead to an immediate reduction of iron on the body. Studies have revealed that women can also lose some iron while menstruating. Other conditions like hiatal hernia, peptic ulcer, colorectal cancer and colon polyp can also cause blood loss, and ensuing iron deficiency.
Pregnancy can cause many a woman to experience iron deficiencies. The normal amount of iron absorbed by the body would not be enough to take care of the mother’s bodily needs as well as the needs of her fetus.
Symptoms of iron deficiency
The myriad symptoms of iron deficiency aka anemia in the body include extreme fatigue, skin paleness, breathlessness, heart palpitations, headaches, migraines, anxiety, hair loss and sore, inflamed tongue etc.
Some women who have anemia tend to experience heavy periods. Individuals with anemia also tend to develop a fetish to eat dirt, clay and ice. Other complications arising from iron deficiency include restless leg syndrome, celiac and inflammatory bowel disease.
Treatment options for iron deficiency
It is considered wise to consult a doctor as and when the symptoms of an iron deficiency start occurring. The standard treatment recommended for anemia would take into account details like the patient’s age, body condition and existing medical conditions.
The first course of treatment would iron supplements. This would then be followed by an iron rich diet for a stipulated period of time. Following this, the patient would need to report back for regular blood tests to check their hemoglobin count. This would need to be followed until the iron levels are stabilized in the body again.
Preventing iron deficiency naturally
In addition to treating anemia with iron supplements, one would need to consume iron rich foods in order prevent iron deficiency. Accordingly, these preventative measures would help ward of iron deficiencies t a great extent.
- Iron rich foods
Adding more iron rich foods to the regular diet can help ward off an iron deficiency effectively. Some sources of food that are rich in iron include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, dry beans, fat free milk products and nuts. Consuming these foods on a regular basis can thus help fight off anemia.
- Vitamin C
Eating foods rich in Vitamin C can also help the body absorb more iron from other foods. Hence, introducing more Vitamin C rich foods in the diet can help curb iron deficiency effectively. Some examples of foods rich in Vitamin C include fruits like grapefruit, melons, oranges and strawberries, vegetables like broccoli, leafy greens and tomatoes, fish, eggs, poultry, pepper and meat.
Iron deficiency is a common occurrence in many individuals. It is considered essential to treat an iron deficiency as and when the symptoms start occurring. This can be done with an appropriate blend of iron supplements and iron rich foods.