Iron Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes, & Types
Iron Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes, & Types
Posted On : 12 January 2021, 6 Months Ago. Health-wellness
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Iron deficiency causes anemia, a major health ailment where the blood becomes deficient in robust Red Blood Cells (RBCs). Primarily, the RBCs are responsible for transporting oxygen - called haemoglobin in medical parlance to the tissues of the human body. In the absence of hemoglobin, the first signs of anemic patients is tiredness and shortness of breath.



Symptoms of Iron Deficiency


At first, iron deficiency anemia symptoms are mild and unnoticeable. But as the disease progresses, so do the signs of anemic patients.



List of Iron Deficiency (Anemia) Symptoms - 


  • ●       Fatigue and weakness
  • ●       Lethargy and difficulty in concentrating
  • ●       Pale skin, dry hair and brittle nails along with cold hands and feet
  • ●       Pain in chest, erratic heartbeat and lightheadedness/dizziness
  • ●       Craving for non-food substances such as ice, clay, starch, dirt etc.
  • ●       Loss of appetite in adults and aversion to food in children
  • ●       Inflammation and soreness of tongue
  • ●       Tingling and crawling sensation in legs
  • ●       Frequent infections
  • ●       Feeling of depression in adults



Medical Ailments Resulting from Iron Deficiency


If treatment is not provided for iron deficiency anemia, it can cause erratic or rapid heartbeat. This is because the heart is required to pump more blood, in the absence of haemoglobin. This can result in the medical condition of an enlarged heart, or even heart failure, in more severe cases. In pregnant women, iron deficiency can cause pregnancy complications such as giving birth to a premature baby. In children, iron deficiency impedes growth of the body and development of the brain.



Types of Anemia (Iron Deficiency)


There are different types of anemia such as aplastic anemia, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, vitamin deficiency anemia and iron deficiency anemia. According to a report published in The Lancet in December 2019, most cases of anemia across the globe occur because of iron deficiency, and these can be easily prevented and treated effectively by iron supplementation and food fortification. Similarly, vitamin deficiency anemia can also be treated and prevented with supplementation and right food. Other forms of anemia are because of genetic haemoglobin disorders or acute/chronic infections. These require blood transfusions and other intensive medical interventions.


Causes of Iron Deficiency


  • ● Poor Intake of Iron: If your diet is poor in iron-rich foods such as meat, eggs and green leafy vegetables, it can cause iron deficiency anemia.
  • ● Blood Loss Due to Menstruation or Pregnancy: Blood loss during childbirth or heavy menstrual bleeding can cause iron deficiency anemia.
  • ● Internal Bleeding: Ulcers, colon cancer and polyps in intestines can cause internal bleeding. This, in turn, can cause iron deficiency anemia.
  • ● Inability to Absorb Iron: Disorders such as celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder resulting from consuming gluten found in wheat, barley and rye) along with surgeries, like gastric bypass surgery can impede with the ability of your body to absorb iron. This can cause iron deficiency anemia.
  • ● Endometriosis: Women can suffer from heavy blood loss because of endometriosis - a medical condition where there is growth of uterus-lining tissue outside the uterus. This again can cause iron deficiency anemia.


Iron Deficiency Diagnosis


A Complete Blood Count (CBC) test will reveal whether you have sufficient hemoglobin and RBC count. In case of iron deficiency, the size of RBCs decreases, and their levels become low. The hemoglobin level also dips sharply.



Treatment of Iron Deficiency


  • ● Dietary Changes: The foremost treatment of iron deficiency is making dietary changes. Consuming food items that boost immunity along with being rich in iron can treat iron deficiency anemia. These include red meat, iron-fortified cereals, nuts, seafood, beans, pumpkin seeds etc. Alongside, do remember to take foods rich in Vitamin C, like cauliflower, citrus fruits, broccoli etc. as they help in iron absorption.
  • ● Medical Treatments: For cases such as internal bleeding and heavy bleeding for women along with autoimmune disorders, it is necessary to take the medicines or undergo medical procedures, as per the advice of your doctor. Choosing the right health insurance plan can take care of your medical costs, if you require hospitalisation because of severe health complications. This becomes especially important in the face of rising hospitalisation expenses.




Along with taking suitable precautions and having the right food, do remember to select the best health insurance plan. With Max Bupa, you can select from a range of health insurance plans, like individual health insurance policy or plans catering to specific needs such as the critical illness policy. This mediclaim policy will provide for any unforeseen medical emergency. What’s more, you get access to hassle-free and quick cashless claim processing across more than 5,000 network hospitals in India.

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