The Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack Are:
â¢ Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.â¢ Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.â¢ Shortness of breath may occur with or without chest discomfort.â¢ Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency Anaemia
Many people with iron deficiency anaemia only have a few symptoms. The severity of the symptoms largely depends on how quickly anaemia develops.
You may notice symptoms immediately, or they may develop gradually if your anaemia is caused by a long-term problem, such as a stomach ulcer.
The most common symptoms include:
- tiredness and lack of energy
- shortness of breath
- hearing sounds that come from inside the body, rather than from an outside source
- an altered sense of taste
- feeling itchy
- a sore or abnormally smooth tongue
- hair loss
- painful open sores on the corners of your mouth
- spoon-shaped nails
What Causes Iron Deficiency Anaemia
There are many things that can lead to a lack of iron in the body. In men and post-menopausal women, the most common cause is bleeding in the stomach and intestines.
This can be caused by a stomach ulcer, stomach cancer, bowel cancer, or by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
In women of reproductive age, heavy periods and pregnancy are the most common causes of iron deficiency anaemia as your body needs extra iron for your baby during pregnancy.
Unless you’re pregnant, it’s rare for iron deficiency anaemia to be caused just by a lack of iron in your diet. However, if you do lack dietary iron, it may mean you’re more likely to develop anaemia than if you have one of the problems mentioned above.
Read more about the causes of iron deficiency anaemia
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Table : Causes Of Iron Deficiency Anemia
- chronic hepatitis and liver conditions
- previous gastrectomy
- achlorhydria and hypergastrinemia
- digestive system surgeries to lose weight
- Helicobacter pylori infection
- a rare disease that occurs when an abnormal protein, called amyloid, builds up in your organs and interferes with their normal function
- other types of GI conditions that cause damaged or impaired absorption sites
- peptic ulcer
- some types of colonic or gastric polyps
- gastritis, esophagitis
- acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding
- use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories , such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin that can cause internal bleeding
- parasitic infections
- vascular abnormalities
- heavy menstruation
- abnormal breakdown of red blood cells
- regular blood donation, phlebotomy
- some eating disorders
Hidden Signs Of Iron Deficiency In Women
The first thing you must know about low iron levels is that it sneaks up on you. You may notice subtle physical and mental changes or nothing noticeable at all.
This makes iron deficiency anemia symptoms all the more dangerous for your wellbeing.
The earlier you identify the warning signs of iron deficiency, the faster you can start natural treatments to manage this condition.
Heres a list of 10 often-missed symptoms of iron deficiency in women.
Keep in mind that you may experience one or more of these symptoms of low iron depending on the severity of the condition.
If you feel you can relate to any indicators above, get professional consultation ASAP!
Lets see in detail how each of these signs of very low iron affect your health.
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How Much Iron Do I Need Each Day
Babies younger than 6 monthsRecommended daily intake: 0.27 milligrams per day
Babies older than 6 monthsRecommended daily intake: 11 milligrams per day
Children aged between 1-3 years oldRecommended daily intake: 9 milligrams per day
Children aged between 4-8 years oldRecommended daily intake: 10 milligrams per day
Girls aged between 9-13 years oldRecommended daily intake: 8 milligrams per day
Boys aged between 9-13 years oldRecommended daily intake: 8 milligrams per day
Girls aged between 14-18 years oldRecommended daily intake: 15 milligrams per day
Boys aged between 14-18 years oldRecommended daily intake: 11 milligrams per day
Women aged between 19-50 years oldRecommended daily intake: 18 milligrams per day
How Can I Prevent Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency may be difficult to prevent if it is due to disease – for example, bleeding from the bowels. However, it should be possible to prevent iron deficiency that is due solely to not having enough iron in your diet. See the section below on iron-containing foods.
With increasing evidence that we need to limit our intake of meat, particularly red meat, how much iron do we need in our diet? The UK recommended daily intake for an adult man is 8.7 mg. For a woman who has not reached her menopause, this is increased to 14.8 mg. Higher amounts are needed in pregnancy and in children and young people.
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Low Iron Levels Symptoms
Iron deficiency is extremely common. However, its important to discuss this with your doctor and seek treatment to avoid future complications.
The signs and symptoms of anemia can be mild at first, and many people may not realise they have mild anemia until the results show up in a routine blood test.
Common signs of being anemic include:
- Easy fatigue and loss of energy
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat, particularly with exercise
In addition to the typical reasons, low iron in women can also occur due to:
- Pregnancy Heavy blood loss during childbirth can cause iron deficiency.
- Menstruation Women who experience a heavy loss of blood during menstruation are at greater risk of iron deficiency anemia.
- Endometriosis A woman who has been diagnosed with endometriosis may experience iron deficiency due to internal blood loss in the abdominal or pelvic area.
When To See Your Doctor
- If you have heavy and prolonged menstrual periods and show symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia.
- If you develop strange food cravings, along with symptoms of tiredness and weakness.
- If your stool becomes black and foul-smelling.
- If you notice growth faltering or a fall-off in growth on the road to health card of your child.
Previously reviewed by Dr Betsie Lombard, MBChB , Mmed
Reviewed by Dr Yasmin Goga MBBCH , DCH , FCPaeds , Cert Clin Haem Paeds , June 2011
R75 per month
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About Iron Deficiency Anaemia
Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition where a lack of iron in the body leads to a reduction in the number of red blood cells.
Iron is used to produce red blood cells, which help store and carry oxygen in the blood. If you have fewer red blood cells than is normal, your organs and tissues won’t get as much oxygen as they usually would.
There are several different types of anaemia, and each one has a different cause. Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type.
Other types of anaemia can be caused by a lack of vitamin B12 or folate in the body read more about vitamin B12 and folate deficiency anaemia.
Can You Stomach It The Vicious Cycle Of Anemia And Iron Supplements
Taking many of todays available oral iron supplements can make you feel as if you have swallowed a brick. The side effects can be so unpleasant that you stop taking them altogether and begin a vicious cycle of spiraling iron levels and unused products. With our innovative new iron supplement Ferritin Boost, the ironology team aims to break that cycle with a formulation that offers optimal absorption without the unpleasant stomach issues.
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Iron Supplements And Stomach Irritation
Iron is an essential mineral in your body. Your body doesn’t create iron so you must consume it in foods such as leafy green vegetables and red meat. Iron is absorbed into the protein hemoglobin found in red blood cells. Your body needs iron to transport oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body. When the body fails to absorb enough iron, people sometimes must take iron supplements. These supplements can often cause stomach irritation.
Treatment For Low Iron Symptoms
Your treatment will depend on the severity of your iron-deficiency anemia, so it’s critical that you consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
Possible remedies include adding more iron-rich foods to your diet, such as red meat, eggs and dairy, and taking iron supplements. Also, deep-tissue massages can help increase blood circulation, reduce toxin buildup and soothe muscle pain, according to Sam Speron, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. If blood loss is contributing to your condition, your doctor may recommend a medication or surgery to stop it.
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Diagnosing Iron Deficiency Anaemia
See your GP if you experience symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia, such as tiredness, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
A simple blood test can usually confirm the diagnosis.
Your GP may also carry out a physical examination and ask you a number of questions to help determine the cause of your anaemia.
Lack Of Iron In Your Diet
Unless you’re pregnant, it’s rare for iron deficiency anaemia to be caused solely by a lack of iron in your diet.
However, a lack of dietary iron can increase your risk of developing anaemia if you also have any of the conditions mentioned above.
Some studies suggest vegetarians or vegans are more at risk of iron deficiency anaemia because of the lack of meat in their diet.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is possible to gain enough iron by eating other types of food, such as:
- dried fruit, such as dried apricots
- wholegrains, such as brown rice
- fortified breakfast cereals
- soybean flour
- most dark-green leafy vegetables, such as watercress and curly kale
If you’re pregnant, you may need to increase the amount of iron-rich food you consume during pregnancy to help prevent iron deficiency anaemia.
Read more about vegetarian and vegan diets
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I Am A Vegetarian How Can I Make Sure I Get Enough Iron
You can help make sure you get enough iron by choosing foods that contain iron more often. Vegetarians need more iron from food than people who eat meat. This is because the body can absorb iron from meat better than from plant-based foods.
Vegetarian sources of iron include:
- Cereals and bread with added iron
- Lentils and beans
- Canned tomatoes
Talk to your doctor or nurse about whether you get enough iron. Most people get enough iron from food.
How Is It Diagnosed
Often a blood test is ordered that shows the number of your red blood cells are low. Next, iron blood tests are ordered. If you are low in iron, it is important to look for a cause of the iron deficiency. Your health care provider will ask many questions and potentially order a test to check your stool for hidden blood.
The next step is typically evaluating your GI tract for sources of blood loss with both a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy. If these tests are unrevealing for a source of blood loss, possibly the next step will be capsule endoscopy. With this test, you swallow a small capsule that looks like a pill, but is actually a camera. This tiny camera will record pictures of your GI tract, specifically the portions of the small intestine that are not evaluated with the colonoscopy or upper endoscopy.
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How Can You Raise Your Low Iron Levels Quickly
Besides consulting a health professional for various signs of iron deficiency, you should add iron-rich foods to fulfill the need.
I bet you already know about green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and kale, being the best food sources rich in iron.
Besides, many types of meat are also popular foods with high iron, such as red meat, chicken, and turkey. Nutritionists also recommend eating nuts and dried fruits to boost low iron levels quickly.
Some women add grains and herbs to their iron-rich diet plan. They contain compounds crucial for increasing hemoglobin production.
I would also suggest trying out some authentic iron supplements to deal with the dangerous iron deficiency symptoms.
Now without further ado, lets move on to the different symptoms of iron deficiency in women you need to look out for.
Read More: 100 Best Iron Rich Foods You Should Eat Daily
Treatment Of Iron Deficiency
Iron supplements are used to treat iron deficiency. If you regularly take heartburn medication, its important to tell your doctor. Heartburn medications interfere with iron absorption by lowering acid levels in the stomach. The amount of iron absorbed from iron supplements will be dependant on the type of heartburn medications you take and when they are taken.
People with GERD are often prescribed lower doses of iron supplements or a certain type of iron supplement. Ferrous gluconate or ferrous fumarate may be recommended instead of ferrous sulfate. These iron supplements may lower the risk of heartburn and constipation. If you experience constipation when taking iron, consider a fiber supplement to keep things moving.
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Avoid Iron Supplements If You Have These Conditions
If you have any of the following conditions, avoid iron supplements as they may increase your risk of iron toxicity.
Hemochromatosis is a genetically inherited disease that can cause iron to accumulate to toxic levels in the body. Without treatment, this disease can lead to problems like liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, and heart disease. People with this condition should not use iron supplements or vitamin C supplements, which increase iron absorption.
African Iron Overload
First observed among the people of African descent, this is a rare condition caused due to the high intake of dietary iron. The condition is believed to result from the consumption of a traditional African beer, which contains dissolved iron from metal drums in which it is brewed. People with this condition should avoid taking iron supplements.
The excess iron accumulates in the immune cells in the bone marrow and spleen and compromises the infection-fighting ability of the immune system. As the condition progresses, iron also accumulates in the liver cells, causing toxicity, liver disease, and even cancer.12
Do I Need Any Further Tests
It is important to find the cause of the iron deficiency. The cause may be obvious in some people. For example, anaemia is common in pregnancy and in women with heavy periods. In these situations, if you are otherwise well and have no other symptoms then no further tests may be needed. However, further tests may be advised if the cause is not clear. Every case is different and your doctor will assess if you should have further tests.
Tests that may be advised include one or more of the following:
- Tests to look into the gut to see if there is any internal bleeding. These may be advised even if you do not have gut symptoms, especially in older people. The tests may include a gastroscopy which looks into the stomach. Checking the back passage and bowel may also be advised. This is commonly done by a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. It is sometimes done by having a computerised tomography scan of your tummy .
- A specialised blood test may be taken if coeliac disease is suspected as the cause. Sometimes a small sample of the lining of the gut may also be taken to diagnose coeliac disease.
- If you have recently been to the tropics, a stool sample may be checked to rule out hookworm.
- Other tests may be advised if the cause is still unclear.
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Quality Of Life: The Therapeutic Goal
The ultimate therapeutic goal is improvement in quality of life but the only objective measure we have to hand is change in haemoglobin concentration. Quality of life improvements of anaemic cancer patients were detected at haemoglobin levels of up to 14 g/dl. As most IBD patients are young, they may have even higher physical and cognitive demands than cancer patients. Normalisation of haemoglobin level should be sought.
The mechanisms of IBD associated anaemia involve particularly ID and ACD. In cases of vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency, appropriate substitution is needed. This leaves the major problem of directing iron therapy and improving erythropoiesis in chronic disease.
Bleeding From The Gut
Several conditions of the gut can lead to bleeding. Sometimes this is sudden – for example, after a burst duodenal ulcer. Being sick or passing blood is obvious then.
Sometimes the bleeding is not obvious. A constant trickle of blood into the gut can be passed unnoticed in the stools . The iron that you may lose with the bleeding may be more than you eat. Conditions causing this include:
- Stomach or duodenal ulcers.
- Cancers of the bowel.
- Other rarer bowel disorders.
If you have one of these problems, you may have other gut symptoms such as stomach pains, constipation, or diarrhoea. However, in the early stages of these conditions, you may not have any symptoms and anaemia may be the first thing that is noticed. For example, iron-deficiency anaemia in an older person may be the first indication that bowel cancer has developed.
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Vitamin B12 And Folate Deficiency
Vitamin B12 and folic acid are vitamins and coenzymes involved in a series of complex biochemical reactions, including DNA synthesis.
Clinical evidence of Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs late as body stores have to be depleted to less than 10%. Vitamin B12, which is bound to the stomach derived intrinsic factor, is primarily absorbed in the terminal ileum. Chronic ileal inflammation or resection, particularly in Crohns disease, may give rise to deficiency and clinical symptoms. An association with gastric Crohns disease had also been recognised. Folate is absorbed in the duodenum and jejunum and deficiency may be due to inadequate diet, malabsorption, or drug interactions . Clinical manifestation occurs earlier as folate stores last only 12 months.