Iron Deficiency anemia is due to insufficient iron. Our body needs iron to make hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen. Iron deficiency anemia is common, especially in women. One in five women and half of all pregnant women are suffering from iron deficiency anemia. Lack of iron in the diet is one of the causes of iron deficiency anemia, but there are other causes as well. Iron deficiency anemia can be usually corrected with iron supplementation. Sometimes, additional treatments are necessary, especially if there is internal bleeding. In general, anemia causes extreme fatigue, pale skin, weakness, shortness of breath, headache, lightheadedness, and often cold hands and feet. Other symptoms present may be inflammation or soreness of your tongue, brittle nails, unusual cravings for substances, like ice, dirt or pure starch, low appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia. Some may have restless legs syndrome in which there is an uncomfortable tingling or crawling feeling in the legs that's generally relieved by movement. The blood mainly consists a liquid part called the plasma and three types of blood cells:
White blood cells (RBC)
They fight against infection, they are also called army of our body. Its light yellow in color.
They are mainly responsible for mechanism of bleeding and clotting of blood in our body.
Red blood cells (WBC) (Erythrocytes)
They carry oxygen from the lungs, to brain and the other organs and tissues of the body. The body needs a supply of oxygenated blood to function. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, an iron-rich substance that gives blood its red color. Hemoglobin enables red blood cells to carry oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body. Red blood cells are manufactured in your bone marrow, which is a red, spongy material located within the cavities of long bones of the body, such as humerus. The bone marrow needs iron, along with vitamins, adequate calories and protein, to produce hemoglobin and red blood cells. Your body gets these from the foods you eat, plus your body also recycles iron from old red blood cells. One can be mildly deficient in iron and not develop anemia. Iron deficiency leads to anemia when the body lacks significant amount of iron to make adequate hemoglobin. Without enough hemoglobin, the red blood cells are smaller and paler than normal, and they can't carry adequate oxygen to your tissues.
Common causes for Iron deficiency anemia are:
- Blood loss
- A lack of iron in your diet
- An inability to absorb iron
These groups of people may be at higher risk:
- Infants and children
In healthy men and postmenopausal women, iron deficiency usually points to bleeding somewhere in the gastrointestinal tract.
Donating blood â€" a source of blood loss â€" usually isn't a common risk factor for iron deficiency anemia. However, some people first learn their hemoglobin is low, which indicates anemia, when they go to donate blood. Low hemoglobin may be a temporary problem remedied by eating more iron-rich foods. It may also be a warning sign of blood loss in your body. If you're told that you can't donate blood because of low hemoglobin, ask your doctor whether you should be concerned.
Complications of Iron Deficiency Anemia:
Mild iron deficiency anemia usually doesn't cause complications. However, left untreated, iron deficiency anemia can become severe and lead to health problems, including the following:
- Heart problems. Iron deficiency anemia may lead to a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
- Problems during pregnancy. In pregnant women, severe iron deficiency anemia has been linked to premature births and low birth weight babies.
- Growth problems. In infants and children, severe iron deficiency can lead to anemia as well as delayed growth. Untreated iron deficiency anemia can cause physical and mental delays in infants and children in areas such as walking and talking, greater incidence of lead poisoning and an increased susceptibility to infections.
We can help prevent iron deficiency anemia by eating foods rich in iron, as part of a balanced diet. Eating plenty of iron-containing foods is particularly important for people who have higher iron requirements, such as children and menstruating or pregnant women. Foods rich in iron include red meat, seafood, poultry and eggs. Meat sources of iron are easily absorbed by your body. Plant-based foods also are good sources of iron, although they're less easily absorbed. Among the best are iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas. Beans and peas, dark green leafy vegetables â€" such as spinach â€" and raisins, nuts, and seeds also contain iron. We can enhance the body's absorption of iron by drinking citrus juice when we eat an iron-containing food. Vitamin C in citrus juices, like orange juice, enhances our bodyâ€™s ability to absorb dietary iron from animals and plants.
Role of Homeopathy in Iron Deficiency Anemia:
Homeopathy plays a vital role in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia. With homeopathic remedies we can treat the underlying cause of iron deficiency anemia like poor absorption, hemorrhagic conditions leading to iron deficiency anemia. Good nutritional support with homeopathic medicines gives good results. Apart from curing anemia, other condition prevalent along with anemia is also treated with homeopathic constitutional approach. Hence patient achieves total health by a complete approach.