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#6: Got Iron?

Updated: Mar 12, 2020



Hello my beautiful ladies! I have a question for you guys, have you guys eaten your green veggies lately or when is the last time you guys checked on your iron levels? Today, we are going to talk about Iron-deficiency anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia the most common type of anemia, a condition that happens when your body does not make enough healthy red blood cells or the blood cells do not work correctly. It happens when you don’t have enough iron in your body. Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen through your blood to all parts of your body. However, left untreated, iron deficiency anemia can become severe and lead to health problems, including Heart problems, Problems during pregnancy, and Growth problems in infants and children.

 

CAUSE

Women can have low iron levels for several reasons:

  • Blood loss. Blood contains iron within red blood cells. So if you lose blood, you lose some iron. Women with heavy periods are at risk of iron deficiency anemia because they lose blood during menstruation. Slow, chronic blood loss within the body — such as from a peptic ulcer, a hiatal hernia, a colon polyp or colorectal cancer — can cause iron deficiency anemia. Gastrointestinal bleeding can result from regular use of some over-the-counter pain relievers, especially aspirin.

  • A lack of iron in your diet. Your body regularly gets iron from the foods you eat. If you consume too little iron, over time your body can become iron deficient. Examples of iron-rich foods include meat, eggs, leafy green vegetables and iron-fortified foods. For proper growth and development, infants and children need iron from their diets, too.

  • An inability to absorb iron. Iron from food is absorbed into your bloodstream in your small intestine. An intestinal disorder, such as celiac disease, which affects your intestine's ability to absorb nutrients from digested food, can lead to iron deficiency anemia. If part of your small intestine has been bypassed or removed surgically, that may affect your ability to absorb iron and other nutrients.

  • Pregnancy. Without iron supplementation, iron deficiency anemia occurs in many pregnant women because their iron stores need to serve their own increased blood volume as well as be a source of hemoglobin for the growing fetus.


RISK FACTORS

  • Women. Iron-deficiency anemia affects more women than men. Because women lose blood during menstruation, women in general are at greater risk of iron deficiency anemia.

  • Infants and children. Infants, especially those who were low birth weight or born prematurely, who don't get enough iron from breast milk or formula may be at risk of iron deficiency. Children need extra iron during growth spurts. If your child isn't eating a healthy, varied diet, he or she may be at risk of anemia.

  • Vegetarians. People who don't eat meat may have a greater risk of iron deficiency anemia if they don't eat other iron-rich foods.

  • Frequent blood donors. People who routinely donate blood may have an increased risk of iron deficiency anemia since blood donation can deplete iron stores. Low hemoglobin related to blood donation may be a temporary problem remedied by eating more iron-rich foods. If you're told that you can't donate blood because of low hemoglobin, ask your doctor whether you should be concerned.


SYMPTOMS

Iron-deficiency anemia often develops slowly. In the beginning, you may not have any symptoms, or they may be mild. As it gets worse, you may notice one or more of these symptoms:

  • Fatigue (very common)

  • Weakness (very common)

  • Dizziness

  • Headaches

  • Low body temperature

  • Pale or yellow "sallow" skin

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

  • Shortness of breath or chest pain, especially with physical activity

  • Brittle nails

  • Pica (unusual cravings for ice, very cold drinks, or non-food items like dirt or paper)

**If you think you may have iron-deficiency anemia, talk to your doctor or nurse.


PREVENTION/TREATMENT

To treat iron deficiency anemia, your doctor may recommend that you take iron supplements. You can reduce your risk of iron deficiency anemia by choosing iron-rich foods.

Foods rich in iron include:

  • Red meat, pork and poultry

  • Seafood

  • Beans

  • Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach

  • Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots

  • Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas

  • Peas

Your body absorbs more iron from meat than it does from other sources. If you choose to not eat meat, you may need to increase your intake of iron-rich, plant-based foods to absorb the same amount of iron as does someone who eats meat.


Choose foods containing vitamin C to enhance iron absorption

You can enhance your body's absorption of iron by drinking citrus juice or eating other foods rich in vitamin C at the same time that you eat high-iron foods. Vitamin C in citrus juices, like orange juice, helps your body to better absorb dietary iron.

Vitamin C is also found in:

  • Broccoli

  • Grapefruit

  • Kiwi

  • Leafy greens

  • Melons

  • Oranges

  • Peppers

  • Strawberries

  • Tangerines

  • Tomatoes

Preventing iron deficiency anemia in infants

To prevent iron deficiency anemia in infants, feed your baby breast milk or iron-fortified formula for the first year. Cow's milk isn't a good source of iron for babies and isn't recommended for infants under 1 year. After age 6 months, start feeding your baby iron-fortified cereals or pureed meats at least twice a day to boost iron intake. After one year, be sure children don't drink more than 20 ounces (591 milliliters) of milk a day. Too much milk often takes the place of other foods, including those that are rich in iron.


RESOURCE:

Mayo Clinic

Office Of Women’s Health


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