Iron-deficiency anemia, the most common form of anemia, is a decrease in the number of red blood cells caused by too little iron. About 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men do not have enough iron in their body. The solution, in many cases, is to consume more foods high in iron. There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin. It is found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry (meat, poultry, and seafood contain both heme and non-heme iron). Your body absorbs the most iron from heme sources. Most nonheme iron is from plant sources.
If your body does not have enough iron, you can develop iron deficiency anemia. Having iron deficiency results in fewer red blood cells being produced by your body and less oxygen is transported from your lungs, making you feel tired.
If your iron deficiency anemia is caused by low iron body reserves, it can often be corrected with a change in diet. Eating iron-rich foods like cooked or raw dark leafy greens, prunes, raisins, pumpkin seeds and other foods listed here can help treat or prevent iron deficiency. Each time you donate blood, you will receive a wellness check that includes an iron screening to ensure your iron levels are adequate for you to be able to donate blood.
You can usually correct iron deficiency anemia with iron supplementation. Sometimes additional tests or treatments for iron deficiency anemia are necessary, especially if your doctor suspects that you’re bleeding internally.
Iron deficiency Symptoms:
- Extreme fatigue
- Pale skin
- Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
- Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Cold hands and feet
- Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
- Brittle nails
- Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch
- Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia
Risk in Iron deficiency:
- Women, Because women lose blood during menstruation, women in general are at greater risk of iron deficiency anemia.
- Infants and children Infants, especially those who were low birth weight or born prematurely, who don’t get enough iron from breast milk or formula may be at risk of iron deficiency. Children need extra iron during growth spurts. If your child isn’t eating a healthy, varied diet, he or she may be at risk of anemia.
- Vegetarians. People who don’t eat meat may have a greater risk of iron deficiency anemia if they don’t eat other iron-rich foods.
- Frequent blood donors People who routinely donate blood may have an increased risk of iron deficiency anemia since blood donation can deplete iron stores. Low hemoglobin related to blood donation may be a temporary problem remedied by eating more iron-rich foods. If you’re told that you can’t donate blood because of low hemoglobin, ask your doctor whether you should be concerned.
Iron deficiency Prevention:
By having Iron-rich foods you can avoid Iron deficiency.
- Red meat, pork and poultry
- Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
- Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
- Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas
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