Iron Deficiency Diseases

Iron has been specified as the second most important mineral in our body. Our body contains only 3-5 grams of iron. Though our body needs very little amount of iron, it is absolutely essential for our life and our body works hard to recycle and reuse the iron present in our body. Iron requires lots of hydrochloric acid from the stomach to get properly digested. Iron Deficiency Disease affects one-third of the total world’s population.

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Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA)

Anemia, popularly called deficiency of blood, occurs due to the lack of the mineral iron in the body. Bone Marrow present in our bone needs iron to make haemoglobin, the part of the red blood cells (RBCs) that transport oxygen to our body’s organs. Without adequate iron, the body cannot produce enough haemoglobin for red blood cells. Iron deficiency at critical times of growth can result in premature births, low birth weight babies, delayed normal infant activity and movement, etc. It can also result in poor memory and poor cognitive skills (mental functions). It has long lasting effects on patients suffering from coronary artery disease, heart failure, and pulmonary hypertension.

Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA)

Iron deficiency occurs when our body doesn’t have required amount of iron to produce haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the part of red blood cells (RBCs) that gives blood its red colour and enables it to transport oxygenated blood throughout the body. Causes of iron deficiency include blood loss from heavy menstruation, pregnancy, frequent or excessive blood donation, digestive tract disease, as well as surgeries and accidents. It can also be caused by certain medications, some dietary supplements or substances that cause bleeding such as pain relievers, toxic chemicals or alcohol abuse.

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Symptoms of Anemia

Anemia occurs when the level of red blood cells (RBCs) in our body is lower than normal and when our body doesn’t have the required amount of iron. The body of persons suffering  from iron deficiency can’t carry enough oxygen to meet the needs of tissues and cells; in that case, heart tries to make up for the lack of oxygen by pumping faster and harder, which may cause skipped beats, a rapid heartbeat or dizziness. These symptoms may be accompanied by a pounding or whooshing sound in the ears. One may also, especially the heart disease patients, experience shortness of breath and chest pain with minimal activity or at rest.

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Because our body requires iron to maintain healthy cells, severe iron deficiency can be noticed in our skin, mouth, hair and nails. The red colour of oxygen-carrying red blood cells affects skin colour, so anemia due to iron deficiency may also cause pale skin, palms, and nails beds. When the iron store present in our body is depleted it may lead to the sore and smooth tongue. One may also experience hair loss and nails may become brittle and spoon-shaped.

Remedies to Overcome Anemia

For borderline problems, the diet should include green leafy vegetables, red cabbage, parsley, beet, spinach, cucumber, fish, coconut which are a great source of iron as well as folic acid. Besides it, Vitamin C helps to improve the absorption of dietary iron and makes it one of the best remedies. To widen the benefit of an iron supplement we need to take digestive enzymes.

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