At an early stage, anemia has no specific symptoms, and this is its main danger. Iron deficiency increases latently, the level of hemoglobin falls, and a condition that could be corrected with a simple diet becomes truly serious. We tell how to recognize and cure iron deficiency anemia.
Symptoms of iron deficiency in the body
The body can not control the consumption of iron, and if due to excessive blood loss or inadequate nutrition, its reserves are depleted, iron deficiency anemia (IDA) develops – the last of the three stages of iron deficiency in the body.
The first stage of IDA is a pre-iron deficiency. In the body, the main intracellular depot of iron is depleted – ferritin protein, which lives in red blood cells, liver cells, spleen and bone marrow. There are no clinical signs of anemia at this stage, and a deficiency can only be detected using a serum ferritin assay. As a rule, it is prescribed for suspected hemochromatosis, chronic inflammatory and infectious diseases, and tumors. A complete blood count, which determines the concentration of hemoglobin, cannot be diagnosed with diagnosis: at this stage, the level of serum iron is kept within the normal range.
The second stage of IDA is latent iron deficiency in the body. It develops if, at the first stage, iron deficiency could not be replenished due to repeated blood loss, malnutrition, impaired absorption, consumption and redistribution of iron. At the same time, the tissue receives less and less iron and oxygen. A person has the first symptoms of iron deficiency: taste disorders, appetite and smell, perverse eating habits (the desire to eat chalk, paper, clay, coal), difficulty in swallowing dry and hard foods, dry and flaky skin, early gray hair and hair loss, thinning, brittleness and exfoliation of nails, cracking in the corners of the mouth, stomatitis. Based on the patient’s complaints, the doctor may suspect that something is wrong and prescribe a biochemical blood test. Reduced serum iron and ferritin levels will indicate the presence of IDA.
The third stage of iron deficiency is iron deficiency anemia. At this stage, anemia becomes apparent. The patient begins to complain of general weakness, fatigue, decreased performance, drowsiness, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, headache and dizziness. Women may experience dryness and itching in the vagina (these symptoms are associated with tissue hypoxia and malnutrition of the epithelium). Severe iron deficiency leads to dysfunctions of various organs and systems, and can be life-threatening.
Treatment of iron deficiency in the body
There are 6 basic principles of treatment of iron deficiency in the body.
- Elimination of the cause of IDA. Iron deficiency can occur against the background of heavy menstruation, hidden bleeding from the alimentary canal during gastritis, esophagitis, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer, varicose veins of the esophagus and rectum, hemorrhoids. All these conditions require special treatment from specialized specialists: a gynecologist-endocrinologist, a gastroenterologist, a proctologist, a surgeon.
- A diet high in iron. If the diet does not systematically lack iron-rich foods, it will be very difficult to avoid anemia. A person with iron deficiency should eat fully and variedly, eat beef, pork, rabbit, liver, beans. During the treatment of IDA should reduce the amount of dairy products, because calcium impairs the absorption of iron.
- Acceptance of iron. The duration of iron supplementation depends on the degree of IDA. Usually drug treatment lasts 2-6 months.
- Transfusion of erythrocyte mass. This method of treatment is used only for severe iron deficiency anemia.
Preparations for the treatment of iron deficiency in the body
Salts of bivalent and trivalent iron are prescribed for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia. All of them must have at least 30 mg of active ingredient, otherwise they will be “reduced” to vitamins from the category of drugs.
Ferrous iron tablets – the cheapest and most popular iron preparations. They are better absorbed and tolerated than ferric salts, although they also have disadvantages: a negative effect on the gastric mucosa and a high risk of gastrointestinal complications. The maximum therapeutic dose (200 mg of elemental iron per day) often causes abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. The more iron is not absorbed and delayed in the intestinal lumen, the more pronounced the side effects. It is noteworthy that the Association of European Gastroenterologists recommends reducing the daily dose to 100 mg.
To correct iron deficiency, the doctor prescribes an iron supplement in a daily dose of 50-80 mg of iron per day (approximately 1 mg / kg body weight), which is taken before meals. To enhance iron absorption, it is advisable to simultaneously take 200 mg of ascorbic acid. – Alexander Ryltsov, general practitioner:
Iron tablets should not be chewed, otherwise they will cause darkening of the tooth enamel. In acute infectious diseases, iron is not recommended, since it is a good “food” for pathogenic bacteria and viruses.