Anemia is a medical condition when there is a decrease of red blood cells present in the body. One of the major causes of anemia among individuals is the low amount of iron in the body. Iron is one of the primary components that makes up hemoglobin found in red blood cells in the body. In fact, anemia caused by low level of iron in the body’s system is the most common form of anemia.
Most Likely Candidates for Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Anemia is commonly seen more among women than men. This is attributed to the loss of blood women experience during menstruation. Any form of blood loss, such as that experienced by women every month, decreases the levels of iron in the body. Unless this is replenished, the body would not be able to compensate for the loss.
This does not mean that men are immune from contracting anemia. Other medical conditions like stomach ulcers can cause either men or women to develop iron-deficiency anemia. This is because these conditions are prone for a person to bleed slightly especially if the person takes antibiotics or over-the-counter pain medications.
The symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia are the following:
• Experiences frequent episodes of fatigue
• Paleness of face and lips
• Events of heart palpitations
• Shortness of breath
• Excessive hair loss
• Worsening of heart problems (for people who have already been diagnosed with some form of heart ailment)
Complications of Iron-Deficiency Anemia
When a person has iron-deficiency anemia and it is left untreated, one of the complications would by hypoxia. This condition occurs when the body is not getting enough oxygen to be able for the different organs and glands of the body to work properly. When a person does not get the dosage of iron required for his or her body, this would affect the levels of hemoglobin in the body. Hemoglobin, in turn, is responsible for the transfer of oxygen to the different cells of the body.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A physician would require a patient to undergo a complete blood count (CBC) test for him or her to determine if a patient is suffering from anemia. Because iron-deficiency is not the only cause of anemia, the physician would also look into the mean corpuscular volume (MCV). This would allow the physician to find out the volume of red blood cells present in the blood sample. A low volume of red blood cells in the sample would indicate that the patient has tested positive for anemia.
The manner on how anemia is treated greatly depends on what caused the onset of anemia on the patient. For anemia resulting from a decrease in the level of iron in the blood stream, physicians would prescribe iron supplements to help the body restore the levels of iron in the patients’ body. If the patient has been diagnosed to have chronic iron-deficiency anemia, the physician may need to prescribe blood transfusion to increase the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin levels in the body.