A feeling of fatigue and weakness, having pale skin, getting dizzy, or having a strange craving to eat items that aren’t food like dirt, having a red, beefy, swollen tongue, brittle nails and headaches are symptoms of a very common condition known as Iron Deficiency Anaemia.
Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type of anaemia, and it occurs when the body doesn’t have enough of the mineral iron. Iron is needed to make haemoglobin, which is an important component of blood.
At times, most people aren’t aware that they have the condition, and what exactly causes it.
The commonest causes of anaemia include
Inadequate iron intake due to poor hygiene, especially seen in people whose diet lacks meat, eggs and vegetables.
Pregnancy or loss of blood due to menstruation is the commonest cause of anaemia in women. This is one big reason why women have been advised to always be faithful to their antenatal sessions. Women with endometriosis also suffer from anaemia.
Trauma to any part of the body via accidents, combat etc., can result in an internal injury which could lead to internal bleeding.
Diseases such as celiac disease can also cause IDA, as such people aren’t able to absorb iron.
Hence, pregnant women, women of child-bearing age, people with poor diets, babies born prematurely, and some people who don’t eat meat but aren’t able to find a substitute adequately are at risk of iron-deficiency anaemia
We did say that many people have anaemia and don’t know it. But if two or more symptoms are identified, it’s best to get to the hospital as soon as possible, where proper evaluation by a doctor is key to diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosis is via blood tests to determine the level of haemoglobin in the blood, and if there’s a suspicion of an internal bleeding/injury, an ultrasound would be very much helpful.
The treatment of IDA is via administration of Iron supplements to the risk groups via improved diet, iron supplement pills, and a correction of underlying causes.
In very severe cases, a blood transfusion is very helpful.