Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition where the body doesn't produce enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen to all body cells. Common causes of iron deficiency anemia are low dietary iron, pregnancy, and blood loss due to heavy menstrual cycles or internal bleeding.

Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, cold feet and hands, brittle nails, headache, and pale skin. Many people do not experience any symptoms. Iron deficiency anemia is diagnosed with a blood test and is quite common, especially among women.

To prevent or reverse iron deficiency anemia, consume plenty of iron-rich foods. Good sources of iron include liver, red meat, poultry, dried fruits, nuts, beans, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains. Animal sources of iron tend to be absorbed more easily than plant sources. To increase your iron intake further, cook your food in cast iron pans; the food will absorb some of the iron. Eating iron-rich foods along with vitamin C will enhance iron absorption.

If your anemia is due to heavy menstrual or gastrointestinal bleeding, your doctor may treat these conditions as well as the anemia. If your doctor recommends iron supplements, avoid taking them with coffee, tea, or milk, as these foods inhibit iron absorption.

Since iron pills can be hard on the stomach, take them with food and increase your fibre and water consumption to prevent constipation. Iron supplements must normally be continued for several months to replenish your body's iron stores

Marlene Veloso

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