The Iron Deficiency and Anaemia Guide: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anaemia. Learn about the symptoms, causes and treatment options for iron deficiency and anaemia.
Iron deficiency is a condition that occurs when the body does not have enough iron. Iron is a mineral that helps form red blood cells.
Iron deficiency can lead to anaemia, a condition in which there are too few red blood cells. People with anaemia may feel tired, weak, even breathless, and they may not be able to do as much as they would like.
If you think you might have an iron deficiency Read on for some tips on what to do.
What Do I do if I think I'm Iron Deficient?
If you think you may have iron deficiency, it's best to consult with a doctor before self-diagnosing. Your doctor will perform a blood test for iron levels and determine if you need more iron or not. If it turns out that you do need more iron, your doctor will prescribe an appropriate treatment plan for you.
In most cases, iron deficiency is caused by not eating enough iron-rich foods or not absorbing enough iron from food. Factors contributing to low iron levels can include heavy menstrual periods or underlying medical conditions that impede iron absorption.
Treatment for Iron Deficiency or Anaemia
Treatment for Iron deficiency can vary based on the severity of iron deficiency and its underlying cause. This is because it can take a while for iron levels to return to normal, even with supplementation.
An iron infusion is a treatment for severe cases of Iron deficiency where no other therapies have helped, or immediate action is needed. Based on a blood test, your doctor will know the best treatment option for you.
Shouldn't I start taking Iron Supplements?
You should also consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before taking any supplements because there is a risk of iron toxicity if you take too much or don't need supplementation.
Iron toxicity occurs when there is too much iron in the body, which can interfere with the absorption of other minerals like zinc and lead to complications, as severe as damage to organs and tissues.
If you are concerned, pop to your doctor to check and find out its underlying cause. In the meantime, look to nutritional-rich Iron sources in the foods you eat.
Nutritional Sources of Iron
The richest food sources of iron are hame iron, which can be found in animals foods such as beef, pork, lamb, poultry, or fish.
Vegetarians can get plenty of iron from plant sources. Plant-based iron is called non-hame iron.
The best sources of iron for vegetarians are leafy green vegetables, lentils, soybeans, tofu, beans, dried fruits like apricots and raisins. Other sources of non-hame iron are nuts (almonds), seeds (sunflower), whole grains (brown rice) and fortified cereals.
However, non-hame iron is harder for the body to absorb than heme iron from meat sources. To help with this, eat some complementary foods rich in Vitamin C (like a glass of orange juice or fruit after your meal) to help with absorption.
Iron is an essential mineral for the human body. It helps to create red blood cells which carries oxygen around the body and makes sure that muscles work properly.
Severe Iron deficiency can cause anaemia, which is a condition that makes you tired and weak. If you feel that you have signs of either an iron deficiency or anaemia, consult your doctor about your symptoms.