Sourced with thanks from healthline.com
Iron deficiency occurs when your body doesn’t have enough of the mineral iron. Your body needs iron to make haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen around the body. Iron deficiency and the related symptoms seem to be more common these days. Blame it on the increased dependence on fast foods mostly. Without enough haemoglobin, your tissues and muscles won’t get enough oxygen to be able to work effectively. This leads to a condition called anaemia. In Part 2 of this 2-part article the author suggests course of action if you feel you are suffering from symptoms of iron deficiency. In the earlier Part 1 the article the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency were covered in detail. Team RetyrSmart
What to do if you think you are iron deficient
If you think you have iron deficiency anaemia, consider the following steps.
Talk to your doctor
If you think you’re showing signs or symptoms of iron deficiency, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.
If your doctor confirms you have iron deficiency, generally it’s fairly easy to treat. Your doctor will likely recommend increasing your intake of iron from your diet or with iron supplements. Try to ensure you’re getting enough iron through real food in your diet. Only take supplements if your doctor recommends them.
The main aim of treatment is to restore haemoglobin levels to normal and replenish iron stores.
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Eat iron-rich foods
If your doctor thinks your iron deficiency may be caused by a lack of iron in your diet, think about consuming more iron-rich foods, such as:
- dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale
- dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
- peas, beans, and other pulses
- seafood, red meat, such as beef and pork, and poultry
- iron-fortified foods
- seeds and nuts
Help boost your iron absorption
Importantly, eating vitamin C will help your body absorb iron better. Try to eat enough vitamin C-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables).
It may also help to avoid certain foods that, when eaten in large amounts, can keep your body from absorbing iron. These include tea, coffee, and foods high in calcium such as dairy products and calcium-fortified whole grain cereals.
Take iron supplements if your doctor recommends them
You should only take an iron supplement if your healthcare provider confirms that you’re iron deficient or are at risk for iron deficiency and can’t meet your needs through diet alone.
If you do take an iron supplement, try drinking orange juice with it to boost iron absorption or using a supplement that includes vitamin C.
Keep in mind that taking iron supplements may cause some side effects. These include:
- stomach pain
- constipation or diarrhoea
- nausea or vomiting
- black stools
However, these side effects can be minimized by taking specific types of iron supplements that may minimize negative effects such as iron bisglycinate chelate
The bottom line
Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type of anaemia worldwide.
Some people have obvious symptoms, while others experience none at all. This often depends on the severity of the anaemia. Common signs and symptoms include tiredness, pale skin, feeling short of breath, and dry and damaged hair and skin.
If you think you have symptoms of iron deficiency, talk to your doctor. Self-diagnosing is not recommended. Most forms of iron deficiency can be treated fairly easily, usually through an iron-rich diet or iron supplements, if your doctor recommends them.