what causes iron deficiency

Understanding What Causes Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Recent studies show that 52% of Indian women aged 15–49 years are anaemic.

Iron deficiency anaemia is a prevalent form of anaemia, characterised by a shortage of healthy red blood cells within the bloodstream. These red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to the body's tissues.

But what causes iron deficiency? As the name suggests, this condition arises from inadequate levels of iron. Insufficient iron inhibits the production of haemoglobin, a crucial component of red blood cells essential for oxygen transport. Consequently, individuals with iron deficiency anaemia often experience fatigue and breathlessness due to reduced oxygen-carrying capacity.

Fortunately, iron deficiency anaemia is typically reversible with iron supplementation, such as Iron Tonic. In some cases, additional diagnostic tests or treatments may be required, particularly if internal bleeding is suspected by your healthcare provider. Early detection and intervention are key to effectively managing iron deficiency anaemia and restoring optimal health.

Let's delve deeper into the causes and symptoms of iron deficiency and shed light on this silent epidemic.

The Importance of Iron

Iron is a micronutrient essential for various physiological functions within the body. It is a key component of haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. It also plays a critical role in energy production, DNA synthesis, and maintaining a healthy immune system.

What Causes Low Iron 

Now, what causes iron deficiency? The answer is: it can arise from various factors, including:

  1. Inadequate Dietary Intake: A diet lacking in iron-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, leafy greens, and fortified cereals can contribute to insufficient iron intake. People with low iron should include these foods into their diet to overcome the deficiency.  
  2. Poor Absorption: Certain conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastric bypass surgery can impair the body's ability to absorb iron from food. If you have had these conditions, you may be at risk of developing iron deficiency anaemia, especially if you are a woman.  
  3. Blood Loss: Chronic blood loss from sources such as heavy menstrual periods, gastrointestinal bleeding, or frequent blood donation can deplete iron stores over time. That’s perhaps why women are more likely to develop anaemia as they lose blood every month. For women, it’s especially recommended to add iron supplementation, such as iron tonic for women made from herbs, and natural foods to their diet. 
  4. Increased Iron Needs: Pregnancy, rapid growth during adolescence, and intense physical activity can increase the body's demand for iron, leading to a higher risk of deficiency.
  5. Medical Conditions: Some health conditions like chronic kidney disease or certain types of cancer may interfere with iron metabolism and contribute to iron deficiency.

What are the Symptoms of Low Iron

Iron deficiency anaemia often develops gradually, leaving people wondering what are the symptoms of anaemia. Its symptoms may be subtle and nonspecific and can range from person to person. But some common signs are as follows:

  • Fatigue and Weakness: Feeling tired and lacking energy, even after adequate rest, is one of the symptoms of iron deficiency.
  • Pale Skin and Pale Nail Beds: A paler complexion, particularly noticeable in the face, lips, inner lower eyelids, and nail beds, can indicate reduced haemoglobin levels.
  • Shortness of Breath: Difficulty catching your breath, especially during physical exertion or activity, may result from insufficient oxygen delivery to tissues.
  • Headaches and Dizziness: Iron deficiency can cause headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, and a feeling of faintness, particularly when standing up quickly.
  • Cold Hands and Feet: Poor circulation due to reduced oxygen-carrying capacity in the blood can lead to cold extremities.
  • Brittle Nails and Hair Loss: Iron deficiency can affect the health of your nails, causing them to become brittle or concave (spoon-shaped), and may also contribute to hair loss or thinning.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome: Some individuals with iron deficiency may experience an uncomfortable urge to move their legs, especially at night, known as restless legs syndrome.
  • Chest Pain: A tightness, pressure, or squeezing sensation in the chest may occur due to decreased oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. 
  • Fast Heartbeat (Tachycardia): The heart may beat faster as it attempts to compensate for the inadequate supply of oxygen to the tissues, resulting in palpitations or a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Factors Increasing the Risk of Iron Deficiency Anaemia

While anyone can experience low iron levels in their body, some factors increase the risk of developing iron-deficiency anaemia. These factors include:

  • Women: Due to menstrual blood loss, women are generally more susceptible to iron deficiency anaemia. That’s perhaps why it’s recommended for women to consume iron-rich foods more often and supplement their diet with Iron tonic or women tonic that’s specially designed for their body needs. 
  • Infants and children: Especially premature or low birth weight infants who may not receive sufficient iron from breast milk or formula. Additionally, children undergoing growth spurts require extra iron. A lack of a diverse, nutritious diet may heighten the risk.
  • Vegetarians: Those abstaining from meat may face a higher risk if their diet lacks other iron-rich sources.
  • Frequent blood donors: Regular blood donation can diminish iron stores, potentially leading to iron deficiency anaemia. Consuming iron-rich foods may help address temporary low haemoglobin levels. If advised against blood donation due to low haemoglobin, consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

Seeking Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect you may have iron deficiency based on the symptoms described above, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis. A simple blood test can measure your haemoglobin and ferritin levels, providing valuable insights into your iron status.

Treatment for iron deficiency typically involves addressing the underlying cause and may include dietary modifications, iron supplementation, or medical interventions to manage any contributing factors. Your healthcare provider can tailor a treatment plan based on your individual needs and circumstances.

Ayurvedic Supplement for Iron Deficiency

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with low iron anaemia, there are some Ayurvedic supplements you can use alongside consuming iron-rich foods such as spinach, raisins, melons, and more. One of the supplements that work effectively in increasing iron levels in the body is Iron Tonic by Ektek Pharma. It’s a potent blend of Ayurvedic herbs such as Amla, Anjeer, Ashwagandha, spinach and more that provides much-needed iron to the body and improves overall health. 

Iron Tonic

In a Nutshell 

Iron-deficiency anaemia affects more people than you could imagine. It’s caused by low iron in the body and what causes low iron deficiency can range from poor diet and certain diseases to blood loss and more. While its symptoms develop slowly, it can lead to life-threatening situations if left unattended. This is why it’s important to seek medical attention if you suspect you may have low iron in the body. 

If you want to maintain optimal levels of iron or overcome low iron levels, you may consider Iron Tonic by Ektek Pharma, which is an effective Ayurvedic medicine for low iron. However, it’s important to consult a medical doctor before using any iron supplement.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is iron deficiency anaemia, and why is it prevalent among Indian women?

Recent studies indicate that 52% of Indian women aged 15–49 years are anaemic, with iron deficiency anaemia being a common subtype. This condition occurs when the body lacks sufficient iron to produce an adequate supply of haemoglobin, necessary for oxygen transport. Due to menstrual blood loss, women are more susceptible to iron deficiency anaemia, highlighting the importance of addressing this health concern.

2. How does iron deficiency lead to anaemia, and what are its symptoms?

Iron deficiency inhibits haemoglobin production, resulting in reduced oxygen-carrying capacity in the blood. Common symptoms include fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, cold extremities, brittle nails, hair loss, restless legs syndrome, chest pain, and a fast heartbeat (tachycardia).

3. What factors contribute to iron deficiency, and how can it be prevented?

Iron deficiency can stem from inadequate dietary intake, poor absorption due to medical conditions, chronic blood loss, increased iron needs (e.g., during pregnancy or growth spurts), and certain health conditions. Preventive measures include consuming iron-rich foods, supplementing as needed, and addressing underlying health issues.

4. What is the significance of Iron Tonic by Ektek Pharma in managing iron deficiency?

Iron Tonic is an Ayurvedic supplement crafted with potent herbs like Amla, Anjeer, and Ashwagandha, designed to replenish iron levels and improve overall health. Its natural ingredients offer a holistic approach to combating iron deficiency, supporting vitality and well-being.

5. How can I incorporate Iron Tonic into my routine, and is it safe to use?

It's advisable to consult a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen. Iron Tonic can be incorporated into your daily routine as directed, alongside a balanced diet rich in iron-containing foods. Always follow recommended dosages and precautions for safe and effective usage.

6. What steps should I take if I suspect I have iron deficiency anaemia?

If you experience symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia, such as those mentioned above, it's essential to seek medical evaluation promptly. A healthcare provider can perform diagnostic tests, including blood tests to assess iron levels, and recommend appropriate treatment based on your individual needs.

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