If You Have Low Iron Are You Anemic – People are tired in the modern world. While stress, lack of exercise, and complete abandonment of “at least eight hours of sleep a night” are contributing factors, most people don’t think to blame their blood. But for 3.4 million Americans, fatigue is just one of a host of symptoms — including headaches, pale skin, fast heart rate, shortness of breath, lethargy and irritability — that together point to “tired blood,” more accurately known as anemia. .
Anemia, which comes from the Greek word anaimía, meaning “lack of blood,” occurs when a person has low levels of healthy red blood cells in their blood. Although there are more than 400 types of anemia, iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is the most common, accounting for half of all anemia cases and being much more common in women than men.
If You Have Low Iron Are You Anemic
Iron deficiency anemia occurs when a woman does not have enough iron stores to help the body produce hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein that allows red blood cells to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. “If the body doesn’t have enough iron to make hemoglobin, red blood cells actually form incorrectly,” says Dr. Synthia Beeler, MD, a general practitioner at Hamilton Family Medicine. “They are smaller and paler.” This makes it difficult for oxygen to move from the lungs to the body’s tissues, causing fatigue and many other problems associated with anemia.
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“Menstrual bleeding and blood loss from the gastrointestinal tract are the most common causes of IDA,” says Dr. Tracy Dozier, who works in the Department of Academic Internal Medicine at Erlanger Health System. Menstruating women of childbearing age are at increased risk of developing IDA. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 9 to 16 percent of menstruating women in the United States are iron deficient. “The more blood you lose, the more at risk you are,” explains Dr. Beeler.
Another common cause of IDA is inadequate nutrition. The amount of iron a person needs depends largely on their age and gender. Children need a lot of iron because they are growing, and girls and teenage girls need more iron than men because of menstruation. Women whose diets lack iron-rich foods such as eggs, meat, and dark green vegetables are at increased risk for IDA. This means that vegetarians and people who eat too much are more at risk of developing this disease. Increasingly, IDA occurs in elderly people with a restricted diet. The risk of IDA also doubles in lower socioeconomic groups, who may not have the means or ability to maintain a well-balanced diet.
Pregnant women are also at risk for IDA because their bodies need more iron to support the increased blood volume. Most experts are of the opinion that pregnant women need twice as much iron as usual during pregnancy. According to anemia.org, 20 percent of pregnant women in the United States have anemia.
Finally, IDA may result from an inability to absorb iron. If a woman has undergone bowel surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery, or has bowel disease such as Crohn’s or celiac disease, it doesn’t matter how much leafy greens, fish or other iron-rich foods she eats: her body will provide it. It cannot absorb and produce enough iron to produce healthy red blood cells.
Iron Deficiency, Thyroid Disease, And Fatigue
Fatigue and fatigue are the most common symptoms of IDA, if these symptoms are recognized at all. In most cases of iron deficiency anemia, the symptoms are initially so minor that a woman may not even notice them.
Who isn’t tired these days? dr. Beeler says. Most people blame it on their thyroid or stress or say, “I didn’t sleep well.” or “My diet isn’t quite right.”
But over time, if the condition worsens, women may notice headaches, dizziness or lightheadedness, cold hands and feet, pale skin, difficulty breathing, inflamed gums or tongue, and even irritability.
In extreme cases, a woman may have an abnormal craving for non-nutritive substances, a condition known as pica. dr. Brooke R. “Some people with iron deficiency anemia really crave ice,” says Daniel, a hematologist at Chattanooga Oncology & Hematology Associates.
Anemia Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore
Women who think they have IDA should never self-diagnose. The common symptoms of IDA are associated with many other diseases, and without testing it is almost impossible to tell if a woman has IDA. A common mistake is to self-medicate with iron supplements, which can damage the liver too much.
“Primary care physicians or hematologists can help someone with IDA,” says Dr. Dozier. If the cause is heavy menstrual bleeding, sometimes a visit to the gynecologist is necessary. According to Dr. Daniela, if there is evidence or concern about gastrointestinal bleeding, the patient is referred to a gastroenterologist.
The doctor usually starts with a physical examination and a review of the woman’s medical history. Examination may reveal pale skin, inflamed gums, abnormal heartbeat or breathing, abnormal liver or spleen size, or internal bleeding.
If the symptoms indicate anemia, the doctor will order a blood test. “The only way to know for sure if a woman is anemic is to have what’s called a complete blood count, or CBC for short,” says Dr. Beeler. This shows the number of his red blood cells and white blood cells. It also checks the color and shape of the red blood cells to determine if they are healthy.
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In CBC, the mean cellular volume, or MCV for short, refers to the diameter of the red blood cells. dr. Daniel says: iron-deficient red blood cells are smaller than normal red blood cells. A CBC can also look for a low hemoglobin level, which can indicate anemia.
Treatment for anemia often depends on its cause. For example, if anemia is caused by blood loss, the woman must treat the cause of the blood loss.
Many cases of IDA simply require a change in diet. “Anemia can often be treated and prevented with a healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamins and iron,” says Dr. Dozier. Adding more iron-rich foods to any diet, such as meat, eggs, peanut butter, spinach, kale, and beans, can help fight the symptoms of iron deficiency anemia.
These daily changes in diet and vitamin intake work to restore depleted iron stores and can make an IDA victim feel better in as little as a week. However, the situation cannot be rectified quickly. After adjustment, it may take several months for a woman to have a normal blood count.
The Global Iron Deficiency Crisis
In addition, your doctor may recommend a daily iron supplement. However, when taking iron tablets, it is important that women do not take more than prescribed. The general population does not need more iron than a multivitamin. However, those with iron deficiency may need more intensive oral supplementation, says Dr. Daniel. To ensure absorption, women may be advised to take the tablets on an empty stomach or with vitamin C. Vitamin C, found in fruits and vegetables including kiwi, strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes, helps the body absorb iron. “If the anemia doesn’t respond to oral iron, we can refer the patient to a hematologist and consider IV iron,” adds Dr. Daniel. This allows the iron to bypass the stomach and enter your system.
Quality of life should never be sacrificed, and preventative care is always worth the effort. A few iron-rich foods during the day go a long way in preventing iron-deficiency anemia and promoting “tired blood.” IDA patients, get tired of being tired! count or CBC for short,” says Dr. Beeler.
Ashley Miller recently graduated from Southern Adventist University with a BA in English. He currently lives in Ooltewah, Tennessee. Medical Review by Megan Solomon, MD – Jessica DiGiacinto and Shane Murphy – Updated October 26, 2021
If you have iron deficiency anemia, it means that your iron levels are low and the flow of oxygen to your organs and tissues is reduced.
Signs Your Iron Pills Are (or Aren’t) Working
Most forms of iron deficiency anemia are highly treatable. If you have been diagnosed, iron supplements can help you manage the condition. There are many different types of iron supplements available. Talk to your doctor about which iron supplement would be best for you.
Use this infographic as a guide to determine if your iron supplements are properly regulating your iron levels.
Iron is best absorbed on an empty stomach, but many people find that taking iron supplements this way makes them feel sick or even upset. Therefore, it may help to have some food in your stomach when you first start taking iron tablets.
If you continue to struggle with stomach issues even with small amounts of food, changing the supplement formula may also help. Ferrous sulfate is usually the first type of iron pill prescribed, but it can cause frequent indigestion. If this is the case for you, talk to your doctor about switching to ferrous gluconate, as this iron formula contains less elemental iron.
Iron Deficiency Without Anemia
There are also some foods and drinks that should not be consumed
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