Iron Deficiency Anaemia


What is Iron Deficiency Anaemia?

Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) occurs when there is a lack of iron in the blood. This leads your body to struggle to create enough red blood cells to be able to transport blood around the body. This lack of oxygen contributes to the feeling of tiredness and lethargy. 

What are the symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anaemia? 
There are lots of symptoms of IDA, below are the most common ones:

Pale Skin

Tiredness

Headaches

Lack of Energy

Heart Palpitations (Noticeable beating)

Feeling Itchy

If you think that you have any of these symptoms, then it's really important for you to go to your GP and they can arrange for a blood test to look at your full blood count; basically, see what your red blood cell count is.
They will also try to find out what the cause of the IDA is; for example, heavy periods, colitis, piles or an ulcer.

How can I treat Iron Deficiency Anaemia?

When you have been to the doctor and they have been able to confirm that you have IDA, then you can start taking steps to treat it.

Doctors will more than likely prescribe you some iron supplement tablets, these should be taken with food or after a meal to help calm down some of the common side effects.

Common symptoms from taking iron supplements can include but not limited to:

Diarrhoea

Constipation

Nausea

Black Poop

Heartburn

Iron needs vitamin C with it to be absorbed properly into the body. So if you can drink a small glass of orange juice, eat some red peppers, broccoli, or if you are buying your own iron tablets then get the ones with a multivitamin included making it easier.

Can I do anything with my diet to help get more iron?

If you want to make sure that you have a diet including lots of natural iron-rich foods, then try adding some of the list below into your daily diet:

Fortified Foods - Some cereals and bread contain extra iron so it's always worth checking that out while you're walking around the supermarket

Meat - Red meat especially contains iron

Beans and Lentils - These have a good amount of iron in them, it's not only meat eaters who are able to get iron in their diet, plant-based diets can provide sufficient nutrients as long as it is varied and well planned

Dark green leafy vegetables - Try adding a side of kale or spinach into your meals, but to make absorption easier, add in some red pepper too, or drink a small glass of orange juice

Try to avoid overconsumption of these:

Caffeine - caffeine has been shown in studies to inhibit the amount of iron that is absorbed so try to limit this as much as possible.

Phytates - These can be found in foods that have a high fibre count, so whole grains. Studies have shown phytate to half the absorption rate of iron when consumed together

Dairy - Is another one that blocks some of the absorption, but this does not mean that you should cut out dairy. Try to eat iron-rich foods and dairy-rich foods at separate times of the day. Never cut a food group out without a doctor or nutritionists help

If you have any other questions about Iron Deficiency, then please ask me either using the contact box  below.



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