Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is one of the common causes of anaemia, It leads to a reduction in the total number of red blood cells in the blood. Commercial blood donors who necessarily have to donate blood frequently eventually develop this problem as well.
The effect of this deficiency is primarily that the red blood cells which carry the required oxygen to the tissues become unable to perform that role optimally because iron is so central to that duty. Iron is the vital element which binds to a protein in the body called ferritin to achieve this ability. When iron is present in inadequate amounts, that very ability is diminished. When this odd status is present for a long time in children, their growth is affected in different ways. They are more prone to infections which diminish their status further in the ability to fight off infections. It leaves them vulnerable to disease and when they require an operation, they are frequently described as being unfit. iron supplementation is usually prescribed and used over a length of time to improve the figure and thus the ability of the red blood cells to carry more oxygen.
the effects of its deficiency manifest in a variety of ways. Sometimes, it shows by the demonstration of weakness, of an inability to perform tasks that demand endurance. The person always seems to be devoid of energy and any activity that may be judged as normal could be a major headache for the person. In addition, such efforts at fairly normal work provoke significant sweating. There will be associated difficulty with breathing as a normal cause of exertion for a fit person becomes a major operation for the anaemic person. They breathe hard, even pant. In some people, there may be the restless leg syndrome while still others develop a strange, bizarre appetite,other symptoms include
1) Fatigue
2) Weakness
3) Shortness of the breath as noted above
4) Dizziness
5) Swelling of the tongue with soreness
6) Cold hands and feet
7) Brittle nails
8) Headaches
9) Fast and irregular heartbeats
10) Pale mucosal surfaces of the lips, palms and conjunctiva of the eyes.
11) Tingling sensation in the legs and sometimes a crawling sensation as well.
12) The development of a strange appetite characterised by cravings for non-food items such as sand, hair and ice cubes.
13) A murmur in the heart.
Iron is obtained from the consumption of certain foods such as meat, fish, eggs, certain sea-foods and vegetables like spinach. It is also found in plantain. For children, it is available in iron fortified infant formula foods and in breast milk for those who are exclusively breast-fed. It is a vital food substance whose absorption is enhanced by the presence of vitamin C in the body. And so it is equally important to consume the food substances that are rich in that particular vitamin which includes virtually all the citrus fruits available in this part of the world. These are oranges, grapefruits, mangoes, strawberries, guava, pineapple, paw-paw and melon. It is also available in sprouts, tomatoes, broccoli, both red and green peppers, cauliflower and leafy green vegetables.
The diagnosis of this condition is fairly straight-forward and is easily reached by many doctors. A thorough physical examination is performed to identify some of the features mentioned above. This is done after a comprehensive history has been taken to try to identify probable causes of the anaemia. A history of using Aspirin taken from an adult, for example, is important to determine if someone has become deficient in iron because he has been bleeding in the stomach. Following this exercise is the obligatory full blood count which is a part of the physical examination. This helps to examine all the components of the blood such as the red blood cells; the white blood cell; the platelets; the packed cell volume and the haemoglobin concentration. The blood is also examined under a microscope to determine the size of the red cells as well as the colour which is an index of the amount of iron contained in that cell.
People who have iron deficiency have low packed cell volume, low concentration of haemoglobin, diminished red blood cell count & a smaller size of the red cells. The levels of ferritin can be evaluated by testing for it. A diminished level indicates that the body’s iron stores would also be reduced.
In order to determine the cause of the iron deficiency, however, further tests would necessarily be conducted by the physician. Such tests would help identify whether the iron deficiency status is caused by inadequate iron intake, excessive loss of iron or even an inability to absorb any iron consumed because of some other disease condition. Finally, iron deficiency may often be seen in premature babies, babies of low birth weight, children who are in their growth spurt and in elderly people, especially women. The relative lack of this mineral during the growth years leads stunting
& developmental abnormalities.
Source:the punch

Author: TheGoldendiamond

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