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Iron Deficiency: What is it, Symptoms and Treatment


Iron Deficiency: What is it, Symptoms and Treatment

Iron deficiency occurs when there is not enough iron mineral in the body. This causes the number of red blood cells to decrease, leading to a condition we call “anemia”. Iron is needed to make “hemoglobin”, a protein found in the structure of red blood cells and allowing them to carry oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia in the world.

Iron deficiency may occur when the body’s increased iron needs cannot be met, or it may occur as a result of insufficient absorption of iron. Iron is the building block of hemoglobin found in red blood cells. The most important consequence of iron deficiency is anemia.

Causes of iron deficiency

Causes of iron deficiency

The reasons are divided into three main groups:

  • Not getting enough iron from foods (such as extreme dietary restrictions, not eating meat, green vegetables)

  • Insufficient absorption of iron entering the digestive system through food (inflammatory bowel diseases, previous stomach and intestinal surgeries such as bariatric surgery, etc.)

  • Conditions where blood loss occurs (such as heavy bleeding during menstrual periods in women, stomach bleeding, bleeding due to hemorrhoids and hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal cancers)

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In addition, the body’s iron requirement increases during pregnancy, and if iron supplement is not given, iron deficiency may occur.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency in the Body

The severity of signs and symptoms may vary depending on the rate of development of iron deficiency. In people whose iron deficiency develops slowly, the symptoms may be more subtle. The most common signs and symptoms are: Fatigue Pallor Shortness of breath Headache Dizziness Decrease in perception-learning performance Heart palpitations Dry and damaged hair and skin Swelling and pain in the tongue and mouth Difficulty in swallowing Restless legs Brittle and spoon-shaped nails Feeling anxious Coldness in hands and feet Unusual food cravings (such as ice, soil, coffee grounds, glass)

Iron deficiency treatment

Priority should be given to consuming foods rich in iron. For example, red meat, chicken, fish, liver-spleen, eggs, broccoli, cabbage, black-eyed peas, legumes, grains and rice can be counted among these foods. Additionally, iron-containing medications are used to supplement the iron deficiency in the body. Drug forms such as pills, syrups and granules are generally used orally. If the physician deems it necessary, intravenous iron treatment can be performed in patients who have digestive system problems due to oral medication intake, who are found to have severe iron deficiency, or who have low iron absorption from the digestive system. The patient’s examinations and examinations are repeated every few months to determine the duration and dosage of the treatment.

What kind of diseases does iron deficiency cause if left untreated?

Conditions such as decreased physical and mental performance, increased risk of heart spasm or heart attack in patients with severe anemia, increased shortness of breath in patients with chronic lung problems, difficulty in swallowing, nail deformities (spoon-shaped nails), feeling cold easily, and increased psychiatric problems may occur.

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Which diseases lead to iron deficiency?

Diseases that disrupt iron absorption from the intestines (such as Celiac disease, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Gastric bypass surgery), diseases that cause blood loss from the body (such as stomach or duodenal ulcers, colon polyps, uterine myomas), kidney failure, heart In cases of iron deficiency, iron deficiency may develop.

Can iron deficiency be prevented? Do you recommend a certain diet or lifestyle?

To prevent the development of iron deficiency, a balanced diet should be planned with foods high in iron and vitamin C. In the presence of conditions such as recurrent nosebleeds, bleeding during or after defecation, bleeding in the urine, excessive menstrual bleeding in women, pregnancy, heart failure, kidney failure, consulting a doctor and starting effective treatments for the cause can prevent the development of iron deficiency or treat existing iron deficiency before it causes a problem in the body. will provide.

What diseases is iron deficiency anemia confused with?

Iron deficiency anemia is most often confused with Mediterranean anemia (thalassemia). Chronic kidney diseases, liver diseases and cancers also cause anemia. Mediterranean anemia may be considered as carriers in patients whose blood values ​​do not increase despite iron deficiency treatment. In this case, physicians perform hemoglobin electrophoresis. Patients with iron deficiency may also have Mediterranean anemia. In this case, the patient’s iron deficiency is first treated. Then hemoglobin electrophoresis is checked. Hemoglobin values ​​of Mediterranean anemia carriers are between 9-10 mg.

What is good for iron deficiency?

You should include more of the foods listed below in your diet. These foods:

  1. Fruits

  1. Vegetables

  1. Whole grains in moderation

  1. Low-fat dairy products, but not excessive

  1. Red meat

  1. Fish

  1. Dried beans, chickpeas, lentils, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, peas, potatoes

  1. Egg,

  1. Hazelnut

  1. Which plum?

  1. seedless grapes

  1. Molasses, honey

  1. Courgette

  1. sea ​​products

  1. Foods rich in vitamin C (broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, green leafy foods, melon, orange, pepper, strawberry, tomato)

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