Importance of Iron in Blood

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Iron deficiency in Blood- Iron is an important mineral essential for the proper growth and development of our body. Anemia, also termed as iron deficiency anemia, is caused by lack of iron in the body. Although body normally have a huge reserve of iron (around 600 to1000 mg in adult male and around 200 to 300 mg in adult female), it is one of the leading causes of anemia worldwide. According to WHO, around 42% of children less than 5 years of age and 40% of pregnant women globally are anemic.

Iron is present in a protein called hemoglobin found in the red blood cells. However in the muscles, it is present in myoglobin protein. Haemoglobin is responsible for distributing oxygen throughout the body, whereas, myoglobin provide oxygen to muscle cells. About 70% of iron is present in red blood cells and muscle cells.

Causes of Iron Deficiency

Insufficient iron in diet

Your body absorbs iron from the diet. Significantly iron deficiency occurs when there is not enough consumption of iron-rich food. Getting less amount of iron overtime can lead to iron deficiency.

Excessive loss of blood

The main constituent of blood is RBCs that contain iron. Therefore loss of greater quantity of blood can also lead to anemia. This is common in women during heavy periods and is associated with internal blood loss, which can lead to iron deficit. Ulcers, colorectal cancer, hiatal hernia, etc., also contribute to iron deficiency.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a phase when the body’s need for iron increases as the blood volume elevates. This is because, a pregnant woman’s body should meet both her own and fetus hemoglobin requirement.

Incapacity to absorb iron

Iron is absorbed from food into the blood in the small intestine. Especially in intestinal disorder like celiac disease, iron absorption from food is impaired, which thereby leads to iron deficiency.

Symptoms of Iron deficiency 

In the initial phase of iron deficiency, the body does not shows significant symptoms. However, gradually, the deficiency worsens and the indications or symptoms shown are –

  • Dull skin

  • Fatigue

  • Shortness of breath or pain in chest

  • Inflammation of tongue

  • Brittle nails

  • Fatigue

  • Craving for non-edible things like pica, paper, dirt, etc

  • Loss of appetite

  • Dizziness

People with Higher risk of Iron deficiency

Lower iron levels are the most common nutritional deficiency. However, following individuals are at higher risk

  • Children or infants

  • Women

  • Vegetarian

  • Frequent blood donor

Preventive Measures

Individual can consume below iron-rich foods food, so as to avoid deficiency of iron-

  • Seafood

  • Peas

  • Beans

  • Dry fruits

  • Poultry, red meat and pork

  • Iron-fortified bread, pasta, and cereals

It is easy to prevent deficiency of iron or to track the level of iron in our body. In fact follow a proper nutritious iron-rich diet and keep a check on iron levels through preventive check-ups available at Thyrocare – an advanced diagnostic center in India and expanding  abroad.