While iron deficiency may seem like a common ailment, the repercussions of it can actually be quite serious. Unlike other deficiencies such as a Vitamin D deficiency, iron deficiency often requires much more serious monitoring and care. If you suspect you might be iron deficient or are concerned about what sort of treatment you may need to undergo in order to correct your deficiency, read on to learn more about the condition and its repercussions.
What are the symptoms of iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency has a wide range of symptoms. Some of the most commonly occurring symptoms you may experience if you’re iron deficient are chronic fatigue, headaches, brittle nails, and dizziness. Some of the more serious symptoms you may exhibit include issues like shortness of breath, internal bleeding, slow blood loss, diarrhea, or heavy bleeding during menstruation. You may also experience heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat, both of which are serious enough that they should be treated as soon as possible. If you’re exhibiting any of these symptoms, your doctor will test for iron deficiency by taking a simple CBC test on a sample of your blood.
What causes iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency can occur in both men and women and is usually treatable. In some situations, women are more likely to experience iron deficiency depending on other lifestyle decisions they’ve chosen to make. For example, pregnant women may experience iron deficiency if they don’t get enough iron in their diet. Other common causes of iron deficiency include a poor diet and IBS or inflammatory bowel disease. If you’re a vegetarian, you may especially struggle to get enough iron in your diet.
What complications can result from iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency, specifically iron deficiency anemia, can have serious side effects and complications if you don’t properly treat the condition. Some of the most common complications in adults are depression, an increased risk of contracting an infection, and other heart problems. Additionally, children face other complications from iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia, particularly in the realm of development issues. For example, a child without enough iron may experience a cognitive delay or a motor delay which could pose other problems later in life.
How is iron deficiency treated?
The good news about iron deficiency is that there are a variety of ways to treat it. For example, iron supplements can be taken that help to boost the levels of iron in your body, just like taking a vitamin. It’s important to follow the directions for taking your supplements as directed since some people may have dietary issues absorbing iron. You can also increase the levels of iron in your diet naturally by consuming more iron-rich foods in your day-to-day diet. Examples of foods with a high amount of iron include spinach, red meats, beans, chicken, and whole-grain bread. Once you begin to focus on treating your iron deficiency, it generally can be corrected in about two or three months. Remember to take your treatment seriously and focus on creating a consistent approach to addressing the problem.
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