When there is lack of red blood cells that contain sufficient iron in the blood the condition is called iron deficiency anemia. It occurs when the body does not make enough red blood cells.
Basics: Hemoglobin is an important part of red blood cells. It is responsible for the red color of blood and makes red blood cells which able to carry oxygenated blood throughout the body. Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin. If there is deficiency of iron in body it results in less hemoglobin and hence less oxygen in tissues and the condition is called iron deficiency anemia.
It occurs in all ages, women have higher incidences.
The main causes of iron deficiency are:
• Poor absorption of iron by the body
• Inadequate daily iron intake.
• Blood loss due to heavy menstruation.
• Gastrointestinal blood loss due to diseases of stomach and intestine.
Initially there are no symptoms. With remarkable deficiency symtoms may include:
• Pale skin.
• Excessive fatigue.
• Coldness of hands and feet.
• Headache especially frontal.
• Rapid heartbeat.
• Decreased appetite.
• Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch.
• Shortness of breath.
• Sore tongue.
• Brittle nails.
• Hemolytic Anemia.
• Aplastic Anemia.
• Pernicious Anemia.
• Sickle Cell Anemia.
• Megaloblastic Anemia.
• Myelophthisic Anemia
Blood test to check for:
• RBC indices.
Other tests to rule out other conditions:
• Fecal occult blood test
Depending on the cause, treatment may involve:-
• Iron tablets.
• Antibiotics and other medications for treating peptic ulcers.
• Medications, such as oral contraceptives to lighten heavy menstrual flow.
• Surgical removal of a bleeding polyp, a tumor or a fibroid
• In cases of severe iron deficiency anemia, blood transfusions can help replace iron and hemoglobin quickly.
• Avoid drugs and alcohol.
• Before and during surgery of the underlying cause the patient should be hemo-dynamically stable.
• Nutritional therapy
• Blood transfusions.
• Fish, poultry.
• Green leafy vegetables.
• Whole grains.
• Milk and milk products.
• Avoid processed and refined food.
• Avoid drinking tea and coffee during meals
Prognosis depends on the cause of anemia. However prognosis is good.
• Coronary or pulmonary insufficiency.
• Anemic pregnant women give birth to premature babies and low birth weight babies.
• Anemia in children results in delayed growth.
• Pale face.
• Puffiness of extremities.
• Mucous membranes are pale.
• Gastric and menstrual troubles.
• Patient likes to be in open air.
• No thirst.
• Dizziness on rising.
• Extreme paleness.
• Patient is emaciated inspite of eating well.
• Patient is depressed and consolation aggravates the condition.
• Patient craves for sour and indigestible things.
• Vertigo and palpitation.
• Swelling of abdomen.
• Patient has tubercular diathesis.
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