Iron is one of the most vital minerals for the proper functioning of the human body, however, its deficit is also one of the most common in the population, to the point that the World Health Organization considers that between 600 and 700 million people in the world have a lack of iron. This nutritional deficiency is more common in developing countries where it is more difficult for people, due to their high price, to consume foods rich in iron, such as beef, every day.
Avoiding a lack of iron is very important to combat complications and diseases such as iron deficiency anemia , the most common type of anemia associated with low levels of iron in the blood. Iron deficiency can affect a person’s quality of life and limit their level of concentration, among other manifestations. If you want to know more about this condition, we invite you to continue reading this article that we have prepared in FastlyHealabout iron deficiency: symptoms and causes .
Table of Contents
The importance of iron
The body needs minerals to complete its nutrition and carry out a series of processes essential for health. Among these minerals, iron stands out, whose main function is to transport oxygen through the blood and promote cellular respiration. Iron is very important for health because:
- It is involved in the production of hemoglobin.
- Helps store oxygen in muscles.
- Increases the body’s resistance to certain diseases.
- It acts in the synthesis of DNA and in the production of collagen.
Normal blood iron values for men are 80-180 µg / dl and for women 60-160 µg / dl, anything below the above-mentioned figures is considered a significant sign of iron deficiency or iron deficiency. in blood.
Symptoms of iron deficiency
Dizziness and nausea
Lack of iron in the blood can cause extreme tiredness that triggers dizziness and the urge to vomit. In general, people with iron deficiency cannot carry out their daily activities with energy and are always fatigued.
The lack of iron compromises the correct oxygenation of the blood and the organism, a fact that can cause the heart to start beating faster, generating anxiety and shortness of breath.
This is one of the most characteristic symptoms of iron deficiency. When iron levels in the blood fall too low, the skin loses its natural color and the person begins to look much paler because the tissues of the skin are not receiving enough oxygen. This is one of the most obvious symptoms that the person has iron deficiency anemia.
Lack of energy
For people with iron deficiency, any effort is too much due to weakness and lack of energy. When iron deficiency is not corrected in time, fatigue can be chronic and the person may want to stay in bed all day.
Iron deficiency also intervenes in people’s moods, causing irritability or depressive episodes. It is important to be aware of this symptom to prevent emotional changes from becoming a major problem.
Other symptoms of a lack of iron :
- Difficulty breathing.
- Pale tongue
- Unexplained weight loss
- Spoon shaped nail.
- Dry and rough skin
- Frequent infections
Causes of iron deficiency
The human body can store only a small portion of all the iron that is lost, for this reason it is considered that the main causes of iron deficiency are:
- Nutritional deficiency or low consumption of foods rich in iron.
- Malnutrition or vegetarian eating.
- Prolonged bleeding.
- Abundant and long-lasting menses.
- The body needs more iron due to pregnancy.
- Intestinal bleeding or bleeding ulcer.
- Frequent blood donation.
- Gastrointestinal conditions that inhibit the proper absorption of food.
- Hormonal disorders.
- Long-term use of some medications such as antibiotics.
- Deficiency of vitamin C or vitamin B6, both essential for the correct absorption of iron.
- Rheumatic diseases.
- Hematological disorders.
- Celiac disease or Chron’s disease.
- Bariatric surgery of the stomach.
- Constant use of antacids.
- Hepatic cirrhosis.
If you keep wondering why I have low iron , in the following article you will find some of the possible causes.
When a person has a long-term lack of iron, they end up developing iron deficiency anemia, the most common type of anemia in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells . Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells, therefore its deficiency prevents the blood from correctly transporting oxygen.
The symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are the same as those of a lack of iron and to diagnose this condition it is enough to carry out an analysis and check the levels of hemoglobin, iron and red blood cells . Once the person confirms that they have anemia, it is important to make changes in their diet to include foods rich in iron. It is also possible that the doctor prescribes the consumption of iron supplements to stabilize the symptoms more quickly and effectively combat the deficiency, however it will always be essential to know why the person has a lack of iron and to also treat this condition.
In the case of pregnant women, it is very common for the doctor to also prescribe the consumption of vitamins and minerals to avoid a deficit and thus prevent iron deficiency anemia. When a person has iron deficiency, the values generally stabilize after two months in treatment.
Iron rich foods
There are many foods rich in iron, however the iron that comes from vegetables is much more difficult to absorb and therefore its intake is not recommended to treat iron deficiency. The foods that contain the most and best iron are:
- Dried legumes (beans, peas, soybeans, and kidney beans).
- Dried fruits (apricots, prunes, raisins).
- Iron-fortified cereals.
- The yolk of the eggs.
- Poultry and dark red meat.
- Salmon and tuna.
- Whole grains (rice, oats, millet, wheat).
When lean meat, fish or poultry is mixed with vegetables or legumes, iron absorption increases up to three times. Foods rich in vitamin C, such as orange, strawberries, guava, and lemon, also help improve iron absorption in the body. Also, there are foods that can decrease the assimilation of this mineral, such as black tea.
In the following FastlyHealarticle we explain some recipes to increase iron .
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Lack of iron: symptoms and causes , we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.