Iron deficiency anemia
What is Iron deficiency anemia?
Iron deficiency anemia, also called sideropenic anemia, usually develops over time if your body doesn’t have enough iron to make healthy red blood cells. Iron deficiency anemia is the first common form of anemia. About 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men are iron deficient.
Iron is an essential component of the hemoglobin molecule, without iron the marrow is unable to produce hemoglobin. The red cell number falls and those which do reach the circulation are smaller than normal (microcytic) and lack hemoglobin, hence they are pale and under colored (hypochromic). The deficiency in iron may be absolute, there is no iron available for the production of hemoglobin, this is true iron deficiency anemia. The deficiency may be relative, the iron is present in storage in the marrow but is unavailable for hemoglobin production, this is anemia of chronic disease. Low iron levels usually are due to blood loss, poor diet, or an inability to absorb enough iron from foods.
Iron-deficiency anemia don't develop quickly. Deficiency develops in stages. In the first stage, iron requirement exceeds intake, causing progressive depletion of bone marrow iron stores. As stores decrease, absorption of dietary iron increases in compensation. During later stages, deficiency impairs RBC synthesis, ultimately causing anemia.
What're causes of Iron deficiency anemia?
Iron deficiency anemia is caused by low levels of iron in the body. Causes of iron deficiency anemia include:
Blood Loss: Loss of blood can cause a decrease of iron and result in iron-deficiency anemia. This bleeding may be caused by problems such as ulcers, hemorrhoids, or cancer. This bleeding can also happen with regular aspirin use. Bleeding inside the body is the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia in men and in women after menopause.
Diets low in iron: Iron is obtained from foods in our diet, only 1 mg of iron is absorbed for every 10 to 20 mg of iron ingested. A person unable to have a balanced iron-rich diet may suffer from some degree of iron-deficiency anemia.The best sources of iron are meat, poultry, fish, eggs. Vegetarian diets can provide enough iron if the right foods are eaten.
Can't absorb iron well in your body: Malabsorption of iron is common after some forms of gastrointestinal surgeries. Most of the iron taken in by foods is absorbed in the upper small intestine. Any abnormalities in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract could alter iron absorption and result in iron-deficiency anemia.
Who are at higher risk for Iron Deficiency Anemia?
Women and Pregnant:
Because their bodies store less iron and because they lose blood during menstruation, women in general are at greater risk of iron deficiency anemia. Pregnant women also are at higher risk for the condition because they need twice as much iron as usual. The extra iron is needed for increased blood volume and for the fetus' growth.
Infants, children or adolescents:
Infants and children need a lot of iron to growth spurts. In infants, discontinuing iron-fortified formula and introducing cow's milk before 12 months can lead to Iron Deficiency Anemia. Cow's milk is low in the iron necessary for infant growth and development and it often replaces the consumption of iron-rich foods. Premature are at even greater risk for iron-deficiency anemia. Because premature don’t have as much iron stored in their bodies as other babies do.