Iron is one of the minerals in the human body. Iron is necessary for good health. It is one of the components of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that helps blood carry oxygen throughout the body. If you do not have enough iron, your body cannot make hemoglobin, and you may develop anemia. This is known as iron-deficiency anemia, the most common type of anemia. It is often undiagnosed and left untreated. Untreated IDA can become severe and lead to health problems, including:
Factors that can lower your body’s supply of iron include:
There are several symptoms that may occur in all types of anemia. They are:
Anyone can develop iron-deficiency anemia, although the following groups have a higher risk:
Your health care provider can perform blood tests to tell if you have anemia. The type and number of blood tests will depend on what type of anemia your doctor thinks you might have. The blood tests will measure your hemoglobin and how much iron is in your body. If these levels are low, the doctor can make a diagnosis of anemia.
Your health care provider will decide on the proper treatment, depending on the type of anemia and what is causing it. Your doctor must first find out if the anemia is being caused by a poor diet or a more serious health problem. You can then be treated for both the anemia and its cause. Iron-deficiency anemia may be treated by eating foods that are high in iron, or with oral (taken by mouth) iron supplements.
REFERENCES: 1. Mayo Clinic. Diseases and Conditions, Iron deficiency anemia. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/basics/complications/con-20019327. Accessed April 3, 2015. 2. Screening for Iron Deficiency Anemia in Childhood and Pregnancy: Update of the 1996 U.S. Preventive Task Force Review . http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK33398/. Accessed April 3, 2015
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