Iron Deficiency: Symptoms, Effects, and Treatment

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutritional disorder and is prevalent primarily in women and preschool children. Iron is one of the essential nutrients derived mainly from our diet. Inadequate intake of iron can deplete the natural iron stores of our body and lead to iron-deficiency anemia. Iron makes up an important part of red blood cells called hemoglobin, which is responsible for the transport of oxygen to all the parts of our body. In the case of iron deficiency, this oxygen transport system becomes compromised and results in inefficient oxygen supply to cells. This renders the cells unable to perform their normal functions and eventually leads to physical illness.

  • Fatigue
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • depression
  • pale skin
  • breathlessness
  • nausea
  • anorexia
  • low skin temperature

If left untreated, iron deficiency anemia could even lead to serious illnesses such as heart disease, menstrual problems, and loss of libido. If you experience any of these symptoms, we recommend that you speak to your doctor or pharmacist so that timely interventions can be made. A blood test is usually done before treatment can be started to confirm the diagnosis of iron deficiency or iron-deficiency anemia.
Intake of foods that are rich in iron can help resolve the iron deficiency. Iron from animal sources has an increased extent of absorption and hence contribute more to replenishing the iron stores in our body. These food sources include organ meat (such as liver, and kidneys, etc.), lean meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood (such as sardines, tuna, salmon, oysters, and clams, etc.). Plant-based iron sources, on the contrary, have lower absorption. However, the absorption of iron from plant-based foods can be enhanced by taking them with vitamin C or ascorbic acid. Some iron-rich plant-based foods include green leafy vegetables (such as spinach and kale), soybean, lentils, wheat, oats, whole grains, tofu, nuts such as (walnuts and almonds), and figs.
For more information on iron deficiency anemia, its prevention, and treatment, visit Guildview pharmacy or speak to our pharmacists on a free phone consultation.

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