Iron is an important mineral required for the proper growth and development of our body. Lack of iron in the body results in anaemia, which is also termed as iron deficiency anaemia. It is one of the leading causes of anemia worldwide.
Iron is present in a protein called hemoglobin found in the red blood cells. In the muscles, it is present in myoglobin protein. Haemoglobin is responsible for distributing oxygen throughout the body, whereas, myoglobin supplies oxygen to muscle cells. About 70% of iron is present in red blood cells and muscle cells.
Few Causes of Iron Deficiency are listed below –
Insufficient iron in diet
Your body absorbs iron from the diet. Many a times, iron deficiency occurs when there is not enough consumption of iron-rich food. Getting inadequate amounts of iron over time leads to iron deficiency.
Excessive loss of blood
The main constituent of blood is RBCs that contain iron. Loss of greater quantity of blood can also lead to anaemia. This is common in women during heavy periods or with other causes of internal blood loss such as ulcers, colorectal cancer, hiatal hernia, etc ., also lead to iron deficiency.
Pregnancy is a phase when the need for iron increases as the blood volume elevates. A pregnant woman’s body needs to meet its own and fetus’ hemoglobin requirement.
Incapacity to absorb iron
Iron is absorbed from food into the blood in the small intestine. In case of intestinal disorder like celiac disease, iron absorption from food is impaired, which thereby leads to iron deficiency.
Symptoms of Iron deficiency are –
In the initial phase of iron deficiency, the body does not exhibit significant symptoms. However, gradually, the deficiency worsens and the indications or symptoms shown are –
- Dull skin
- Shortness of breath or pain in chest
- Inflammation of tongue
- Brittle nails
- Craving for non-edible things like pica, paper, dirt, etc
- Loss of appetite
People with Higher risk of Iron deficiency –
- Children or infants
- Those who donate blood frequently
Preventive Measures –
Consume the below-mentioned foods which are rich source of iron
- Dry fruits
- Poultry, red meat and pork
- Iron-fortified bread, pasta, and cereals
It is easy to prevent iron deficiency or to track the level of iron in our body. Follow a proper nutritious iron-rich diet and keep a check on iron levels through preventive check-ups available at Thyrocare – the most renowned diagnostic centre in India and expanding abroad.
References – https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/hemoglobin_and_functions_of_iron/
https://www.medicinenet.com/ironand iron deficiency/article.htm