Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of Iron-Deficiency Anaemia

Iron-deficiency is amongst the most common diseases that have been found in many human beings. The disease caused due to lack of iron is also known as ‘Anaemia’ in medical terms and is a common, easily curable condition that exists in a human being who does not have enough iron in his body. The low iron levels are due to blood loss, poor diet, or an inability to absorb enough iron from food. In other words, anaemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells in your blood is lesser than the normal range. The red blood cells carry oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from your body.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of such a disease depend on its severity. By the time the disease is mild to moderate, there are rarely any signs and symptoms. The signs and symptoms do occur, ranging from mild to severe. Many symptoms of iron-deficiency anaemia apply to all types of anaemia. The key signs and symptoms of iron deficiency include brittle nails, swelling and soreness of the tongue, cracks in the sides of the mouth and frequent infections. The people who are suffering from iron-deficiency anaemia may have an unusual craving for items like ice, dirt, paint or starch.

Treatment options

There are many people who are diagnosed with this disease and the treatment for this condition depends upon the individual and the severity of the symptoms. The goals of the treatment for iron-deficiency are to bring back the normal functioning levels of red blood cells, haemoglobin and iron. Here are listed some of the treatments for this disease. Let us have a look:

  • Dietary changes: Beginning with the easiest, the doctors recommend the simple changes to the diet of the patient. To build up the amount of iron in human’s body quickly, start eating red meat as it is high in iron. For the people who are vegetarian or vegan, there are many other options to have a look on. For instance peas, lentils, baked beans etc. Opt for the excellent sources of iron to increase the iron percentage in your body.
  • Iron supplements: In case of the moderate and severe stage of deficiency, only dietary changes do not work well and therefore for the sake of an individual’s proper treatment and to improve his health, iron supplements are recommended by the doctors in order to cure anaemia, preventing the worsening of such deficiency especially among women and athletes. When someone starts taking the iron supplements, it becomes crucial for them to get enough vitamin C on regular basis. Vitamin C is an essential requirement because it assists with iron absorption and can be found in oranges, kiwis, strawberries etc.
  • Blood transfusions- When the disease comes to a serious level, it becomes necessary to receive a transfusion of red blood cells. This is one of the common procedures that involve giving blood to a person via IV line through a blood vessel. This treatment is also used on the patients having a high risk of heart conditions that could be worsened due to iron deficiency anaemia.
  • Iron therapy- This treatment is also known as ‘iron infusion’, wherein the iron is injected into an IV line in a blood vessel or into a muscle. This option is considered only in the cases when the patient is unable to take iron supplements by mouth due to another medical condition.

Dosage and duration recommendations for men, women and children

  • The men ageing between 19-50 years should get eight milligrams of iron per day.
  • The women ageing between 19-50 years should get eighteen milligrams of iron per day.
  • From 51 years onwards, both men and women are recommended to get eight milligrams iron per day.
  • For kids (both genders) ageing below six months, are recommended to get 0.27 milligram, seven months to one year old should get 11 milligrams, 1-3 years old should get seven milligrams, 4-8 years old should get ten milligrams, 9-13 years old should get eight milligrams of iron per day.
  • While 14-18 years old males need eleven milligrams and females need fifteen milligrams of iron per day.