Research has put the worldwide figures of anemia at 25-30 percent, which means approximately 1 in 4 people are affected by this deficiency and good percentage of them would not be even aware of the need to start with iron supplements. Doctors prescribe iron supplements to fight the deficiency in the body, however the same should not be taken without a comprehensive understanding of the uses, side effects and the warnings that are attached to it.
The more shocking fact remains that almost 30 percent of non-pregnant women and 42 percent of pregnant women are anemic and this is the reason than anemia is considered a serious issue for world leaders to effectively tackle. Although people from developing countries are prone to anemia, however the recent lifestyle preference especially in women has led to a spurt in anemia in patients diagnosed in developed nations as well.
Men, on the other hand are faring better with only 12 percent diagnosed with the condition. However, irrespective of age and gender the need to take iron supplements exist to ensure the deficiency of iron in the body is taken care of. In order to fully understand the need for iron supplements it becomes important to answer a few pressing questions which includes its uses, side effects and the warnings associated with its usage.
What is Iron Deficiency or Anemia?
Anemia means lack of blood in the body and the “blood” in this case means a reduced number of red blood cells (RBCs) in your blood stream. A resulting deficiency in hemoglobin count which is present inside RBCs is what causes all the negative effects. Hemoglobin is the carrier of oxygen to all blood cells from the lungs which in turn provides the cell with energy to function. The loss of RBC and hemoglobin is from absence of iron in the body and needs to be immediately addressed.
The lack of hemoglobin or RBCs is attributed to lack of iron in your diet. Apart from an imbalanced diet from lack of awareness, iron deficiency can also occur from excessive dieting, unhealthy lifestyle and as side effects of diseases like kidney issues, bowel issues and even cancer.
Monthly periods and weight watching makes anemia a more chronic problem with women irrespective of geographical boundaries spread across the planet.
Spotting the symptoms
The biggest symptom of iron deficiency is continued fatigue and a feeling of lethargy. A more chronic form is usually accompanied by difficulty in breathing and exertion while performing even basic jobs. Headaches, continued coughs and cold bouts, sour tongue and dry mouth are some other symptoms which stay on.
Uses of Iron Supplements
Iron deficiency s easily treatable by including an iron rich diet in your daily food habits. Red meat, eggs, chicken and fish are a rich source of iron for non-vegetarians. Leafy green vegetables, beans, green peas and dry fruits are ideal source of iron for the vegetarians.
However in many cases, intake of iron supplements becomes necessary to keep the iron content in the body at satisfactory levels. This is true especially for women and children who are at the highest risk of dietary imbalance and especially when symptoms of iron deficiency are visible.
Iron supplements have a few side effects and needs some time for your body to get used to the external source of iron. Many people complain about irregular bowel movement with either diarrhea or constipation. Higher doses could even result in nausea and vomiting thus a controlled intake is always recommended.
Supplements taken in liquid form are known to stain the teeth therefore the tablet form is preferred or the liquid iron supplements are mixed with juices etc and taken in with a straw to avoid contact with the teeth.
Vitamin C and its importance in the fight against anemia
Do not miss the importance of vitamin C also when fighting anemia. The presence of vitamin C in your diet is essential for any external source of iron to be effectively absorbed by the body. So include enough sources of the vitamin like lemon, oranges, strawberries etc to ensure that your iron supplements are serving the purpose that it is being taken for.
Some warning information is also attached to iron supplements which should not be ignored.
- Contrary to popular beliefs milk is not a source of iron in the diet for children and children feeling excessive exhaustion possibly from iron deficiency. Children should not be fed milk to compensate for the perceived lack of balanced diet.
- If after taking an iron and vitamin C rich diet doesn’t bring relief to the symptoms then a licensed medical practitioner needs to be immediately consulted for a detailed diagnosis.Iron Supplements Uses, Side Effects and Warning in Fight Against Anemia
Taking these suggestions into account will surely help everyone to understand accurately the uses and side effects of using iron supplements and also heeding to the warnings will ensure a safe fight against Anemia.
By Daris Abraham