Anemia is a body condition characterized by low-level of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Iron-deficiency anemia occurs when your body does not have enough iron and since iron is responsible for producing hemoglobin, the rest of your body will not be able to get the required oxygen for daily activities.
There are many signs to suggest that you have an iron-deficiency anemia; shortness of breath, general fatigue, pale skin, dizziness, cold hands and feet, headaches, tingling feeling in the legs, just to mention a few. Many people may not be aware of this condition until they actually go for a medical test.
If you consume too little iron over a long period of time, it may lead to a deficiency in your body. Menstruating and pregnant women are also at a high risk of shortage due to blood loss during menstruation and childbirth. Internal bleeding caused by stomach ulcer, polyps in colon or intestines, regular intake of pain relievers like aspirin, can also put you at risk. Some disorders or surgeries that affect the intestines can be a source of interference with the ability of your body to absorb iron.
There are many treatment options available for iron-deficiency anemia. You can take iron supplements and if possible, you can take them on an empty stomach so that they can be easily absorbed by the body. There may also be need for you to take them for a long period of time depending on your level of deficiency.
Furthermore, you should ensure that your diet is rich in iron. Foods like red meat, nuts, dark green leafy vegetables, cereals, dried fruits, etc., can be of great help. You should also take citrus fruits because they are rich in vitamin C which helps your body to absorb iron. If excessive bleeding is the cause of the deficiency, you will need to consult a competent medical practitioner in order to help you stop the bleeding. Blood transfusion is also an option if there is an urgent need to boost the iron level.
You can prevent iron-deficiency anemia by eating foods rich in iron and vitamin C. Mothers should give breast milk to their children and, if possible, infant formula fortified with iron. Foods rich in iron include meat, like pork, chicken, lamb and beef, beans, pumpkin and squash seeds, eggs, seafood, such as clams, sardines, shrimp and oysters, iron-fortified dry and instant cereals, leafy greens, such as spinach raisins and other dried fruit.