A shortage of iron can lead to a range of serious health problems, including iron- deficiency anemia. The intake of medicinal iron is effective, however there are some side-effects. You can expect an amelioration of anemia through a correct diet.
Treatment of iron-deficiency anemia
Iron-deficiency anemia treatment is basically a treatment to overcome the lack of iron. It's usually an oral treatment which has to be taken once or twice a day before eating.
An amelioration can be seen in 2 to 3 weeks. However, it is recommended to continue the treatment several months.
Some side-effects like nausea, stomachache, intestinal disorders such as diarrhea and rarely some rash can be seen. Stools can become darker, but it is not a problem.
If side-effects are too cumbersome, you might change the type of medicinal iron or its intake time. If these changes aren't enough, you can choose its administration by injection or by pediatric syrup.
Prevention of iron-deficiency anemia by having an iron-rich diet
By ameliorating your diet habit, you can prevent iron-deficiency anemia. Especially in case of iron-deficiency anemia, iron-rich foods are very efficient.
More precisely, liver, red meat, red fish meat, dark green leafy vegetables, soybean-based products, hijiki (Japanese algae) are efficient. Iron included in meat are more easily absorbed than vegetable iron.
The intake of vitamin C improves iron absorption. A daily intake of iron is better than only one intake.
What is anemia?
Approximately one woman among 10 has iron-deficiency anemia!
According to data in 2015 of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (Japan), there is approximately one woman among 10 who has iron-deficiency anemia. If you restrict this data to women having their menstruation, there is one woman among 5 who has anemia. When you talk about "Anemia", some people think that there is less blood (a lack of blood), but the total amount of blood doesn't change. Anemia is a situation of the blood when it has a bad quality and less hemoglobin. When this situation occurs, you might feel an accelerated heartbeat or have shortness of breath just walking up some stairs. You can also have some signs and symptoms like extreme fatigue, pale skin or headache.
What is iron-deficiency anemia, due to a lack of iron in your body?
Among anemia, the most frequent anemia is due to iron-deficiency. When you are diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia, you also might have some signs and symptoms due to a lack of iron. For example; nail deformation, Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) which disturbs your sleep and more rarely, you can crave for ice.
What are the causes of iron-deficiency?
Our body has continuous iron savings which mostly are reused in the body. Only a small amount of iron is released by our body, mainly by our sweat, urine and stool.
There are mainly three causes of having iron-deficiency anemia.
- People having difficulty in absorbing iron from food. The iron RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) is around 7.0 mg - 7.5 mg for men. It is 10.5 mg for women who menstruate, particularly if menstrual periods are heavy. In 2016, the Japanese average intake of iron was 7.4 mg. so, especially for women before their menstruation, the intake is very insufficient.
- People who need iron more than others. Youngsters in their growing phase or women who are pregnant or breast feeding need more iron than others. They have the highest risk to get iron-deficiency anemia.
- People having blood loss. Women who menstruate, particularly in case of abundant menstruation (in this case, you have more risk to have fibroids or endometriosis). Women in their menopause (postmenopausal women).
What is an asymptomatic anemia?
This means that these people have the highest risk to get iron-deficiency anemia.
You have to be careful, because these people do not have the disease yet (are not yet ill), but if nothing is done you might need to take medicinal iron.
Besides the fact that iron is needed by, and circulating in our hemoglobin, we have some iron savings in our body. In some cases, your hemoglobin levels could be normal, but you could have a drop in your iron savings.
Women in their menstrual periods and youth during their growing phase could be at high risk of having insufficient iron stock.
It's important to take sufficient iron on a daily basis.