Iron-deficiency anemia is not having enough hemoglobin present in your red blood cells. Hemoglobin is what delivers oxygen to the tissues throughout your body. But, it happens when you don’t have enough iron in your body to produce hemoglobin. There are various causes of low iron levels. Read on to find out what they are.
Causes of Iron-Deficiency
The most common cause of anemia is iron deficiency. There are also many reasons why a person may have an iron deficiency.
Not Eating Enough Iron
It is important for people to include iron-rich foods in their diet. Not eating enough iron-rich foods will result in a deficiency which can lead to anemia. You can obtain iron in many different foods, such as eggs, green leafy veggies, and meat. Iron is extremely important for women who are pregnant, and younger children especially.
Loss of Blood From Menstruation or Pregnancy
Another common cause of iron deficiency is bleeding heavily during menstruation. This is common in women during their childbearing years. Pregnancy is another common cause since the body requires more iron to carry ample amounts of oxygen to the unborn baby.
Certain health conditions can result in internal bleeding such as colon cancer, polyps in the colon or intestines, and even stomach ulcers. Additionally, using certain OTC pain relievers regularly also puts you at an increased risk for stomach bleeding.
Not Able To Absorb Iron
Certain medical conditions and surgeries may have a negative impact on the intestines and the way your body absorbs iron. Having intestinal surgery or having celiac disease can limit how much iron your body can actually absorb even if you are on an iron-rich diet.
Runs in Family
Certain medical conditions such as celiac disease, as mentioned above, can really make it challenging for your body to absorb adequate amounts of iron. This can run in families and be considered genetic. Additionally, certain mutations or genetic conditions can worsen the issue, such as TMRPSS6. This genetic mutation can cause your body to produce high levels of hepcidin, which is a hormone that can keep your intestines from absorbing iron.
Certain risk factors can raise a person’s chances of developing anemia including:
- Pregnant women and women during their childbearing years
- Having a poor diet
- Donating blood regularly
- Babies and children that are born prematurely or go through a growth spurt
- Vegetarians who aren’t substituting meat with other foods that are rich in iron
- People 65 and older
- Those exposed to lead in their water or surroundings
- Athletes such as marathon runners
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
If you believe you are suffering from iron deficiency, a blood test may reveal the results. But you may not even notice any symptoms at first since they can be relatively mild. But, if you have moderate to severe iron deficiency, you may notice:
- Pale skin
- Strange cravings
- Fragile and brittle nails
- Irregular or fast heartbeat
- Cold feet and hands
- Swelling or soreness of the tongue
- Crawling or tingling sensation in the legs
Categorised in: Low Iron Levels