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Iron deficiency anemia

What is iron deficiency anemia?

Iron deficiency anemia, also called sideropenic anemia, is a common medical condition in which the body does not have enough iron to produce hemoglobin, an essential protein in red blood cells for transporting oxygen from the lungs to body tissues.

There are several factors that can cause iron deficiency, including an iron-deficient diet, heavy menstruation, pregnancy, and certain diseases. It is very important to treat this condition as the symptoms can worsen over time if not properly addressed.

Fortunately, health professionals can easily diagnose iron deficiency anemia and treat it effectively through a blood test to assess hemoglobin and iron levels. Once iron deficiency is diagnosed, doctors can identify the underlying cause and prescribe iron supplements or treat the underlying disease. In addition, adopting a balanced diet that includes iron-rich foods, such as meat, legumes and green leafy vegetables, can help prevent iron deficiency.

Iron deficiency anemia is a widespread problem that affects the red blood cells in the blood. This condition can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, paleness, headache and shortness of breath.

Treatment of iron deficiency depends on the underlying cause of the disorder. If the anemia is caused by an iron-poor diet, iron supplements may be prescribed to restore ferritin levels. In addition, doctors may recommend following an iron-rich diet, including foods such as red meat, fortified cereals, and dark leafy vegetables.

What are the effects of sideropenic anemia on my body?

Sideropenic anemia is a common but treatable disorder. Symptoms of anemia can vary, but the most common are fatigue and weakness. Over time, anemia can cause pale skin and cold hands and feet.
People who suffer from iron deficiency anemia may also experience rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, and sometimes, chest pain. In addition, iron deficiency can also cause unusual cravings for non-food items such as ice, dirt or paper.
Not all of these symptoms are present in all people with iron deficiency anemia, but avoiding them is important.

If you notice any symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. In addition, a healthy and balanced diet rich in iron is essential to prevent anemia

How does iron deficiency anemia develop?

Normally, our body gets the iron it needs through food. Iron is stored so that it can be used when needed for hemoglobin production. However, there is a risk of developing iron deficiency anemia when the body uses up iron stores faster than it can be replenished or when there is a slowdown in the flow of iron through the system.
Iron deficiency anemia occurs in three stages:

  • the phase of depletion of iron stores
  • the phase of reduced hemoglobin production
  • the phase of anemia proper.

The main symptom is constant fatigue, but there may also be other symptoms such as dizziness, pallor, physical weakness and difficulty concentrating.

Who can develop sideropenic anemia?

Iron deficiency anemia is a common medical condition that affects many people worldwide. In particular, menstruating women, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and the elderly are at greater risk of developing this condition.
Exposure to menstrual blood each month can increase iron loss in menstruating women. In addition, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need more iron than other women.
But not only women are at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia. The elderly, particularly those with malabsorption problems, diarrhea, or those taking long-term anti-inflammatory drugs, are more likely to develop this condition.
People with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia, may also develop sideropenic anemia. Finally, people who consume an unvaried diet or eliminate whole food categories, such as vegetarians and vegans, may need to supplement iron in their diet with the help of supplements or fortified foods

What is the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia?

Iron deficiency is one of the most common health problems in the world. Often, the major cause is blood loss, which can be due to various reasons. In many cases, blood loss is caused by menstruation, but there are also other causes, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, surgery, or the use of anticoagulant drugs. Iron deficiency can cause fatigue, pallor, muscle weakness and headaches and can lead to iron deficiency anemia. This condition can be treated with iron supplementation, but in some cases, more extensive treatment is needed.

How to diagnose iron deficiency anemia?

Because iron is an essential element for the production of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body, iron deficiency can cause a range of symptoms, including fatigue, weakness and shortness of breath.
To diagnose sideropenic anemia, the doctor will perform a blood test to measure the levels of hemoglobin, ferritin, and iron in the blood. If the blood test results indicate an iron deficiency, the doctor may perform additional tests to identify the cause of the deficiency, which could be due to insufficient dietary iron intake, internal bleeding, or chronic illness.
With timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, iron deficiency anemia can be easily treated, improving the patient’s quality of life.

Learn more by checking out the latest scientific research on PubMed

This article was originally written in Italian and translated English via deepl.com. If you notice a major error in the translation you can write to [email protected] to report it. Your contribution will be greatly appreciated

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