Iron-deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia that occurs if you do not have enough iron in your body.People with mild or moderate iron-deficiency anemia may not have any signs or symptoms. More severe iron-deficiency anemia may cause fatigue or tiredness,shortness of breath, or chest pain.
Iron from the food you eat is absorbed into the body by the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract; the body only absorbs a small fraction of the iron you ingest. The iron is then released into the bloodstream, where a protein called transferrin attaches to it and delivers the iron to the liver. Iron is stored in the liver as ferritin and released as needed to make new red blood cells in the bone marrow. When red blood cells are no longer able to function (after about 120 days in circulation), they are reabsorbed by the spleen. Iron from these old cells can also be recycled by the body.
Iron deficiency is very common, especially among women and in people who have a diet that is low in iron. The following groups of people are at highest risk for iron-deficiency anemia:
- Women who menstruate, particularly if menstrual periods are heavy
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or those who have recently given birth
- People who have undergone major surgery or physical trauma
- People with gastrointestinal diseases such as celiac disease (sprue), inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, or Crohn disease
- People with peptic ulcer disease
- People who have undergone bariatric procedures, especially gastric bypass operations
- Vegetarians, vegans, and other people whose diets do not include iron-rich foods (Iron from vegetables, even those that are iron-rich, is not absorbed as well as iron from meat, poultry, and fish.)
- Children who drink more than 16 to 24 ounces a day of cow's milk (Cow's milk not only contains little iron, but it can also decrease absorption of iron and irritate the intestinal lining causing chronic blood loss.)
Other less common causes of iron deficiency include:
- Blood loss from the gastrointestinal tract due to gastritis (inflammation of the stomach)
- Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus)
- Ulcers in the stomach or bowel
- Angiodysplasia (leaky blood vessels similar to varicose veins in the gastrointestinal tract)
- infections such as diverticulitis, or tumors in the esophagus, stomach, small bowel, or colon
- Blood loss from chronic nosebleeds
- Blood loss from the kidneys or bladder
- Frequent blood donations
- Intravascular hemolysis, a condition in which red blood cells break down in the blood stream, releasing iron that is then lost in the urine. This sometimes occurs in people who engage in vigorous exercise, particularly jogging.
- This can cause trauma to small blood vessels in the feet, so called "march hematuria." Intravascular hemolysis can also be seen in other conditions including damaged heart valves or rare disorders such as thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura (TTP) or diffuse intravascular hemolysis (DIC).
Symptoms of iron-deficiency (anemia) are related to decreased oxygen delivery to the entire body and may include:
Being pale or having yellow "sallow" skin
- Unexplained fatigue or lack of energy
- Shortness of breath or chest pain, especially with activity
- Unexplained generalized weakness, rapid heartbeat Pounding or "whooshing" in the ears and headache
- Sore or smooth tongue
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
There are several ways to increase iron intake:
- Diet Meat: beef, pork, or lamb,especially organ meats such as liver
- Poultry: chicken, turkey, and duck, especially liver and dark meat
- Fish: especially shellfish, sardines, and anchovies
- Leafy green members of the cabbage family including broccoli, kale, turnip greens, and collard greens
- Legumes, including lima beans, peas, pinto beans, and black-eyed peas
- Iron-enriched pastas, grains, rice, and cereals
Homeopathic treatment requires a thorough investigation of the patient’s physical as well as mental makeup. This makes the only guide for the selection of Homeopathic similimum. Homoeopathic medicines are selected on the basis of constitutional similarity which includes the study of person’s physical state, mental state, familial tendencies and state of his present complaints. It helps in hastening up the uptake of iron from the daily intake and reduce the deficiency.
Remedies like Ferrum Phos, Belladonna, Pulsatilla, Natrum mur., Phosphoric Acid.,China., Carboveg, etc. are very useful to cure iron deficiency anemia when prescribed based on symptoms.