WHAT IS IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA?
A decreased number of circulating blood cells or insufficient
hemoglobin (<10gm%) in the red cells is anemia. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to our body
tissues. When the cause is due to inadequate levels of elemental iron in the circulation,
anemia is said to be iron deficiency anemia.
Anemia is a symptom (just like fever) of other disorders. For proper
treatment, the cause must be found.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Paleness, Tiredness and Weakness.
- Inflamed, sore tongue.
- Abdominal pain.
- Palpitations or an abnormal awareness
of the heartbeat.
Reduced intake, decreased absorption of iron, abnormal loss or
increased need for iron.
- Rapid growth spurts.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding,
bleeding due to piles or hookworms
- Gastrointestinal disease with bleeding, including ulcer and cancer.
RISK INCREASES WITH
- Poor nutrition, especially multiple vitamin deficiencies.
- Smoking, which reduces absorption of important nutrients.
- Excess alcohol consumption, leading to poor nutrition.
- Medical history of any disorder that reduces absorption of nutrients.
- Use of anticonvulsant drugs.
HOW TO PREVENT
Maintain an adequate iron intake through a well-balanced diet or iron
- Observation of symptoms.
- History and physical exam by a doctor.
- Laboratory blood studies, especially of hematocrit, hemoglobin and red-blood-cell
counts. Stool examination specifically for occult blood to identify chronic loss of blood.
- In certain cases, detailed study of Iron levels etc may be required
- Imaging of the gastrointestinal tract, if indicated.
Failure to diagnose a bleeding malignancy.
Usually curable with iron supplements if the underlying cause can be
identified and cured.
The most important part of treatment for iron-deficiency anemia is to
correct the underlying cause. Iron deficiency can be treated well with iron supplements.
Blood transfusions are rarely needed.
Your will be prescribed iron supplements.
Guidelines you should follow while on iron therapy:?
- Take iron on an empty stomach (at least 1/2-hour before meals) for best absorption. If
it upsets your stomach, you may take it with a small amount of food (except milk).
- If you take other medications, wait at least 2 hours after taking iron before taking
them. Antacids and tetracycline especially interfere with iron absorption.
- Because liquid iron supplements may discolor the teeth, a child should preferably be
given liquid iron preparation through a long handled spoon or a straw. Iron supplements
may also cause black discoloration of stools, diarrhea or constipation.
- Continue iron supplements until 2 to 3 months after blood tests return to normal.
- Too much iron is dangerous. A bottle of iron tablets can poison a child. Keep iron
supplements out of the reach of children.
- Adults should limit milk to 250 ml a day. It interferes with iron absorption.
- Eat protein and iron containing foods, including meat, beans and leafy green vegetables.
- Increase dietary fiber
to prevent constipation, which occurs as a side effect of iron
CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR, IF
- You have symptoms of anemia.
- Nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhea or constipation occurs during treatment