London: Iron deficiency is a condition resulting from too little iron in the body. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency and the leading cause of anemia in the world. In the USA, despite food fortification, iron deficiency is on the rise in certain populations.
Iron deficiency at critical times of growth and development can result in premature births, low birth weight babies, delayed growth and development, delayed normal infant activity, and movement. Iron deficiency can be the result of numerous and multiple causes.
Iron Deficiency Anemia Causes and Treatment
These fall into two broad categories: an increased need for iron and/or decreased intake or absorption of iron. Lower IQs have been linked to iron deficiency occurring during critical periods of growth.
Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency
A person who is iron deficient may also be anemic and as a result, may have one or more symptoms of anemia. These can include, chronic fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headaches, depression, sore tongue, sensitivity to cold (low body temp), shortness of breath doing simple tasks (climbing stairs, walking short distances, doing housework), restless legs syndrome, pica (the desire to chew ice or non-food items,) and loss of interest in work, recreation, relationships, and intimacy.
Causes iron deficiency
Iron deficiency can be the result of numerous and multiple causes. These fall into two broad categories: an increased need for iron and/or decreased intake or absorption of iron.
How iron deficiency is treated
The approaches used to treat iron deficiency depend on the presence or threat of anemia and its causes, which may be increased demand for iron (pregnancy, growth spurt), blood loss (heavy periods, giving birth, surgery, injury, disease), diet or behavior, interference with iron absorption, and abnormal blood cell formation or management.
Some approaches are as simple as dietary changes and others involve taking iron supplements, which are available in heme and nonheme form. Some people with significant iron deficiency might require iron infusions or whole blood transfusions to restore iron sufficiency.
Most at risk for iron deficiency
Women, children, and the elderly are most at risk. African American and Hispanic women and their young children are prone to iron deficiency, possibly because of diet or perhaps different hemoglobin needs. Men are rarely iron deficient; but when they are, it is generally due to blood loss from the digestive tract, diseases that affect iron absorption, and in some cases, alcohol abuse. Except for those who are strict vegetarians, men rarely have a dietary iron deficiency. source