Hemoglobin, which gives blood cells called red blood cells their red color, contains iron, and red blood cells have important tasks in taking oxygen from the lungs and delivering it to other tissues.
When the iron content in the blood is low, red blood cell production decreases, and as a result, there is a decrease in the amount of oxygen transported to cells, tissues and organs. As a result of iron deficiency, an anemia disease called iron deficiency anemia occurs. Iron also acts as part of the power plants in cells and enzymes and is of great importance for the body.
What causes iron deficiency?
Iron is a mineral that cannot be produced by the body and therefore should be taken in sufficient and regular amounts in the diet. Iron deficiency usually occurs due to an increased need for iron in the body, incomplete iron intake, or loss of iron from the body. The most important reason for iron deficiency is that iron-containing foods are not consumed at an adequate level. In cases such as pregnancy, menstrual period, there is an increase in the body's iron needs.
Causes of iron deficiency that arise due to an increased need for iron in the body;
* Breastfeeding period
* Giving birth at frequent intervals
* Being in the age of growth
* The puberty period can be sorted in this way.
If the causes of iron deficiency are as a result of insufficient iron intake;
* Inadequate and unbalanced nutrition
• It is a vegetarian diet in which meat, liver and other offal rich in iron are not consumed (Although there is a sufficient amount of iron in plant foods, the form found can be poorly evaluated in the body. Myoglobin in the animal November structure, on the other hand, contains very easily absorbable iron.).
Causes of deficiency as a result of loss of iron from the body;
* Severe menstrual bleeding
* Occurrence of excessive blood loss due to causes such as stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids, accidents
* There is an increase in the loss of minerals and other trace elements such as iron through urine and sweat due to excessive exercise.
In addition to the causes listed above, the following factors October cause iron deficiency:
* Insufficient gastric acid secretion
* Having ulcers in the stomach or duodenum
* Removal of part of the stomach or small intestine by operation
* Insufficient absorption of iron taken into the body by the intestines due to diseases such as celiac disease
* Caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee, cola significantly inhibit iron absorption when consumed with meals
* Hereditary iron deficiency
* Use of drugs that impair absorption
Symptoms of iron deficiency
It is difficult to notice iron deficiency at an early stage. The body can compensate for iron deficiency over a period of time, delaying the appearance of signs of anemia. However, at this stage, some early symptoms are also observed. Some of these early symptoms are;
* Brittle hair and nails
* Dryness of the skin
* Cracks in the corners of the mouth
* Burning in the tongue
* Sensitivity of the oral mucosa
After iron deficiency progresses and anemia occurs, other signs and symptoms are added to them. The most common symptoms of iron deficiency;
* Constant state of fatigue
* Concentration problems
* Panting during physical activities
* Dizziness and darkening of the eyes
* Sleep problems
* Feeling more cold than usual
* Hair loss
* Skin color has a pale appearance
* Swelling of the tongue
* It can be listed as tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.
What does iron deficiency lead to?
Iron deficiency anemia, if left untreated, can lead to life-threatening, very important health problems. Some of these health problems are;
* Heart diseases (such as rapid heartbeat, heart failure, enlarged heart)
* Problems during pregnancy (such as low birth weight, the baby is not at normal weight, the risk of premature birth, problems in the mental development of the baby)
* Weakening of the immune system and easier to catch diseases
* Developmental and mental retardation in infants and children
* Restless legs syndrome
How is iron deficiency diagnosed?
Iron deficiency is usually detected during a routine blood count or performed for other purposes. In the case of iron deficiency, the body first drains its iron stores. When these reserves are completely depleted, iron deficiency anemia occurs. For this reason, for the early diagnosis of iron deficiency, it is necessary to perform blood tests that show the condition of iron stores.
If you have complaints suggesting iron deficiency, you can contact a health care provider. Your doctor will question your lifestyle and food habits, and will also conduct a detailed medical history review, which includes pre-existing diseases and medications. On the other hand, he asks questions about the frequency, duration and severity of the menstrual period with young women. For the elderly, it examines whether there is bleeding from the digestive tract, urinary and genital organs. Knowing the cause of anemia is the key point for treatment to be successful.
Exact information about the iron balance is only possible through blood tests. With the tests, various parameters such as hemoglobin, hematocrit, erythrocyte count, transferin are tried to make a diagnosis by looking at.
How to prevent iron deficiency?
Preventing the occurrence of iron deficiency is possible with a number of changes that can be made in eating habits. For this;
* Eating foods rich in iron
* Combining these foods with foods that facilitate iron absorption (foods and drinks rich in vitamin C, such as orange juice, lemonade, sauerkraut, etc., facilitate absorption.)
* Avoiding consuming foods and drinks that reduce iron absorption will help prevent iron deficiency.
What is good for iron deficiency?
Consuming foods rich in iron will be the answer to the question of what is good for iron deficiency. Red meat, liver and other offal, legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, cowpeas, kidney beans, peas, dried beans; spinach, potatoes, prunes, seedless grapes, boiled soybeans, pumpkin, oats, molasses, honey are rich in iron. These foods should also be consumed in large quantities to prevent iron deficiency.
Foods that inhibit iron absorption
Certain foods or drinks can reduce iron absorption, triggering a lack of order. Some of them;
* Bran, whole grains
* Oilseeds (for example, soy, peanuts)
* Black tea
* Protein (casein) obtained from soy and soy milk
* Calcium salts (Found in various mineral waters.
These foods and drinks should not be consumed together with iron-containing foods if possible. Especially anemia patients should stay away from them if possible.
How is iron deficiency treatment done?
Treatment of iron deficiency anemia requires a combined approach. First of all, it is important to determine for what reason iron deficiency occurs, because treatment is planned for the cause. Eliminating the problems that cause iron deficiency is the most important step in the treatment process.
If the deficiency is based on the intake of iron with food being too low, the diet of the affected person is adjusted so that he receives a sufficient amount of iron. It is recommended that a person consume foods rich in iron, such as red meat, liver, fish. In addition, the patient is advised to avoid drinks that reduce iron absorption, such as tea, coffee, during meals.
If the change in diet is not enough and there is anemia, the patient may need to be treated with iron medication. But the use of iron drugs outside the control of a doctor is dangerous. Since excess iron is not excreted from the body, it can accumulate in organs such as the pancreas, liver, heart and eyes in particular, causing damage.
If you also suspect that you have iron deficiency yourself, you can contact a health care provider or get advice from your family doctor to diagnose the causes and clarify the diagnosis.