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Iron Deficiency


Iron deficiency anemia is when your body does not have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Every organ and tissue in your body needs oxygen to work.

What is Iron Deficiency?

Iron deficiency is a type of Anemia that occurs when your body does not have enough iron to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein in your RBCs that is responsible for carrying oxygen to your tissues. If you aren’t consuming enough iron or if you’re losing too much iron, your body can’t produce enough hemoglobin and iron deficiency anemia will eventually develop.

Symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Weakness

  • Pale skin

  • Headache, Dizziness, Or lightheadedness

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue

  • Brittle nails

  • Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt, or starch

  • Chest pain

  • Fast Heartbeat or Shortness of Breath

Causes:

  • Blood Loss

  • Lack of Iron in diet

  • Inability to absorb iron

  • Pregnancy

  • Endometriosis

  • Internal Bleeding

Treatment:

When caused by inadequate iron intake, iron deficiency anemia can be prevented by eating a diet high in iron-rich foods and vitamin C. Iron supplements will not help if excess bleeding causes the deficiency. A doctor may prescribe birth control pills to women who have heavy periods. This can reduce the amount of menstrual bleeding each month.

Food with High iron

The body absorbs two to three times more iron from animal sources than from plants. Some of the best animal sources of iron are:

  • Lean beef

  • Oysters

  • Chicken

  • Turkey

  • Ham

  • Seafood, such as clams, sardines, shrimp, and oysters

Although you absorb less of the iron in plants, adding a source of vitamin C to vegetarian sources of iron will enhance absorption. Some of the best plant sources of iron are:

  • Beans and lentils

  • Tofu

  • Baked potatoes

  • Cashews

  • Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach

  • Fortified breakfast cereals

  • Whole-grain and enriched bread

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