What are the symptoms of iron deficiency? What is good for iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency, which is the most common type of anemia in the world, is an important health problem that occurs in 35% of women and 20% of men. In pregnant women, this rate rises to 50%.
What is iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency is the condition in which the iron needed in the body cannot be met for various reasons. Iron has very important functions in the body. Hemoglobin, which gives red blood cells their red color, contains iron, and red blood cells have important tasks in taking oxygen from the lungs and delivering it to other tissues.
When the iron rate in the blood is low, red blood cell production decreases, and as a result, the amount of oxygen transported to the cells, tissues, and organs decreases. Iron deficiency results in anemia called iron deficiency anemia. Iron also acts as part of the power plants in cells and enzymes and is of great importance for the body.
What causes iron deficiency?
Iron is a mineral that cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be taken in sufficient and regular amounts through the diet. Iron deficiency is usually caused by an increased need for iron in the body, incomplete iron intake or loss of iron from the body. The most important cause of iron deficiency is the insufficient consumption of foods containing iron. In cases such as pregnancy and menstrual periods, the body’s need for iron increases.
Causes of iron deficiency due to an increased need for iron in the body;
- breastfeeding period
- giving birth frequently
- be in growing up
- The adolescence period can be listed as follows.
The causes of iron deficiency as a result of insufficient iron intake are;
- Inadequate and unbalanced nutrition
- It is a vegetarian diet in which meat, liver, and other offal, which are rich in iron, are not consumed.
Causes of deficiency as a result of iron loss from the body;
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Occurrence of excessive blood loss due to gastric ulcer, hemorrhoids, accident etc.
- It is an increase in the loss of minerals and other trace elements such as iron through urine and sweat due to excessive exercise.
In addition to the reasons listed above, the following factors can cause iron deficiency:
- Insufficient gastric acid secretion
- Having ulcers in the stomach or duodenum
- Surgical removal of part of the stomach or small intestine
- Insufficient absorption of iron taken into the body by the intestines due to diseases such as celiac
- When caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee, and cola are consumed with meals, they significantly inhibit iron absorption.
- Hereditary iron deficiency
- Use of drugs that impair absorption
Iron deficiency symptoms
It is difficult to detect iron deficiency at an early stage. The body can compensate for iron deficiency over a period of time, delaying the onset of anemia symptoms. However, there are some early symptoms at this stage as well. Some of these early signs are;
- Brittle hair and nails
- dry skin
- Cracks in the corners of the mouth
- burning tongue
- Tenderness in the oral mucosa
After iron deficiency progresses and anemia occurs, other signs and symptoms are added to these. The most common symptoms of iron deficiency are;
- a constant state of fatigue
- concentration problems
- panting during physical activities
- Dizziness and blackout
- sleep problems
- Feeling colder than usual
- Hair loss
- Having a pale skin color
- tongue swelling
- It can be listed as tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.
What causes iron deficiency?
If left untreated, iron deficiency anemia can lead to life-threatening health problems. Some of these health problems are;
- Heart conditions (such as rapid heartbeat, heart failure, heart enlargement)
- Problems in pregnancy (such as low birth weight, not being in normal weight, risk of premature birth, problems in the mental development of the baby)
- Weakening of the immune system and getting sick more easily
- Developmental and mental retardation in infants and children
- restless legs syndrome
How is iron deficiency diagnosed?
Iron deficiency is usually detected during routine or other blood counts. In the case of iron deficiency, the body first depletes its iron stores. When these reserves are completely depleted, iron deficiency anemia occurs. For this reason, blood tests showing the status of iron stores should be performed for the early diagnosis of iron deficiency.
If you have complaints suggesting iron deficiency, you can apply to a health care provider. Your doctor will question your lifestyle and food habits, as well as take a detailed medical history review that includes pre-existing diseases and medications. On the other hand, she asks questions about the frequency, duration and severity of menstrual periods with young women. In the elderly, it is investigated whether there is bleeding from the digestive system, urinary and genital organs. Knowing the cause of anemia is the key to successful treatment.
Precise information about iron balance is only possible with blood tests. Diagnosis is attempted by looking at various parameters such as hemoglobin, hematocrit, erythrocyte count, and transferrin with tests.
How to prevent iron deficiency?
Preventing the formation of iron deficiency is possible with a number of changes that can be made in eating habits. For this;
- Eating iron-rich foods
- Combining these foods with foods that facilitate iron absorption (Foods and drinks rich in vitamin C such as orange juice, lemonade, sauerkraut facilitate absorption.)
- Avoiding foods and drinks that reduce iron absorption will help prevent iron deficiency.
What is good for iron deficiency?
Consuming iron-rich foods will be the answer to the question of what is good for iron deficiency. Legumes such as red meat, liver and other offal, chickpeas, lentils, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, peas, dry beans; Foods such as spinach, potatoes, prunes, seedless grapes, boiled soybeans, pumpkin, oats, molasses, honey are rich in iron. These foods should also be consumed in large quantities to prevent iron deficiency.
Foods that inhibit iron absorption
Certain foods or drinks can reduce iron absorption, triggering a lack of appetite. Some of those;
- Bran, whole grains
- Oilseeds (e.g. soy, peanuts)
- Black tea
- Protein from soy and soy milk (casein)
- Calcium salts (Contained in various mineral waters.
If possible, these foods and beverages should not be consumed with iron-containing foods. Especially anemia patients should stay away from them if possible.
How is iron deficiency treated?
Treatment of iron deficiency anemia requires a combined approach. First of all, it is important to determine the cause of iron deficiency; because treatment is planned for the cause. Eliminating the problems that cause iron deficiency is the most important step in the treatment process.
If the deficiency is based on very low dietary intake of iron, the affected person’s diet is adjusted to get enough iron. It is recommended that the person consume foods rich in iron, such as red meat, liver, fish. In addition, the patient is advised to avoid beverages that reduce iron absorption, such as tea and coffee, during meals.
If the change in diet is not sufficient and there is anemia, the patient may need to be treated with iron medication. However, it is dangerous to use iron drugs without the control of a doctor. Since excess iron is not excreted from the body, it can accumulate in organs such as the pancreas, liver, heart, and cause damage by accumulating in the eyes.
If you suspect that you have an iron deficiency, you can consult a health care provider or seek advice from your family doctor to diagnose the causes and clarify the diagnosis.
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