Iron is one of the minerals of great importance to the human body, especially for its important role in the formation of blood cells, as iron enters the synthesis of hemoglobin, which is the main protein in red blood cells, which works to deliver oxygen to all cells of the body.

The body cannot manufacture iron, so it must be obtained from food. When the body fails to provide its iron needs, it becomes anemia or anemia.

In this article, we discuss iron deficiency anemia, and list symptoms and causes, as well as risk factors.

Anemia due to iron deficiency

It is considered the most common type of anemia among people, as the body needs iron to produce hemoglobin, the main component of red blood cells, and it contributes to many vital functions in the body, which are as follows: (1)

  • Supporting the body’s immune system.
  • energy production.
  • Ensure muscle strength.
  • Carrying oxygen and distributing it to the cells of the body through protein.
  • Mental health support.

An individual suffers from iron deficiency anemia, when the blood does not contain sufficient quantities of iron, or the body is unable to absorb it for any pathological reason. Here, tissues and cells do not get enough oxygen, and a different set of disparate symptoms appear. (1)(2)

Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia

It is not easy to detect iron deficiency anemia despite its commonness. A patient may suffer from anemia for years before it is discovered, due to the difficulty of noticing the symptoms of iron deficiency at first, and it is often discovered by chance when conducting routine blood tests. (3)

Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia result from the lack of oxygen delivery to the cells of the body, and include the following points: (3)(4)

  1. Yellow skin color and pallor, which is one of the most important symptoms of iron deficiency anemia.
  2. Chest pain accompanies it
  3. General weakness in the body and fatigue.
  4. High heart rate.
  5. Headache, especially with exertion.
  6. Hearing a whistling sound in the ear.
  7. Sore and swollen tongue.
  8. Hair loss, which is one of the most common symptoms of anemia in women.
  9. Nail brittleness.
  10. Dizziness, an easily noticeable symptom of anemia.
  11. A tingling feeling in the legs.
  12. The tendency to eat strange things such as mud or snow.
  13. Cold hands and feet.

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Causes of iron deficiency anemia

There are several factors that lead to iron deficiency anemia, the most famous of which are as follows: (2)(4)

  1. Neglecting to eat iron-rich foods: As we mentioned, the body does not produce iron, but it can store it when obtained from food or nutritional supplements containing iron.
  2. Iron absorption problems: Some suffer from problems with digestion and absorption in the intestine, such as stomach surgeries or digestive disorders, which limits the amount of iron absorbed by the body.
  3. Blood loss: Blood loss affects the level of iron in the body directly, and the methods of blood loss can be included as follows: (1)
    1. Heavy periods for women, and are the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia in women.
    2. Bleeding, especially in the stomach and intestines, which often results from ulcers, or taking blood-thinning medications such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs.
    3. Excessive blood donation.
    4. Medical conditions such as enteritis, ulcers, and hookworm infection.
    5. during surgeries.

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Risk factors for anemia

The incidence of anemia resulting from iron deficiency rises in certain groups of people, although it affects everyone of all ages and races, but women are the most vulnerable to anemia. We mention below the most important risk factors that indicate iron deficiency anemia, and it is recommended that owners take a procedure Blood tests, to check your hemoglobin level: (1)(3)

  • Women in periods of fertile and childbearing ages.
  • Women during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Malnutrition patients.
  • Regular blood donors.
  • Infants who were born prematurely, as premature birth is one of the most important causes of iron deficiency anemia in children.
  • Vegetarians who do not eat meat.
  • Teens and children.
  • People exposed to lead metal in their environment.
  • Those aged over 65 years.
  • Sports champions.

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In the end, the treatment of anemia is simple and available, doctors prescribe in severe cases of iron deficiency,

Doctors advise groups most at risk of anemia, especially women, to seek medical advice, to determine the necessary method of treatment, in order to prevent the occurrence of complications of anemia due to iron deficiency.(3)