Iron Deficiency Anemia Fact Sheet

Iron Deficiency Anemia Fact Sheet

Some facts you should know about Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron Deficiency Anemia, or IDA, is a common type of anemia. It's a condition in which blood lacks an adequate supply of healthy red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen to tissues. It is oxygenated blood that gives your body energy and your skin a healthy color.

As the name suggests, Iron Deficiency Anemia results from insufficient iron. Your body needs iron to make a substance called hemoglobin. It's the hemoglobin in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen.

What causes IDA?

There are many causes of IDA. These include:

  • A diet consistently low in iron
  • Blood loss due to heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Poor iron absorption from food due to intestinal surgery or diseases of the intestine
  • Pregnancy (when the need for iron increases significantly)

Women in general are at higher risk of IDA, not only because they lose blood during menstruation but also because their bodies store less iron.

How common is it?

IDA is a common nutritional deficiency, with women most widely affected. Up to 20% of women have IDA.

What are the symptoms?

Some of the symptoms most commonly associated with IDA are fatigue, weakness, and headache. Symptoms may also include lightheadedness, pale skin, shortness of breath, and cold hands and feet, among others. As the body becomes more deficient in iron and anemia worsens, the symptoms worsen as well.

How is IDA diagnosed?

A diagnosis is made primarily through blood tests. The doctor checks your hematocrit, the percentage of your blood volume made up of red blood cells and hemoglobin. A lower than normal hemoglobin level indicates anemia.

Also, blood tests for IDA typically include a measurement of ferritin, a protein that helps store iron in your body. When the level of ferritin is low, usually the level of iron is, too. If a patient tests positive for IDA, additional tests may be ordered to identify an underlying cause.

Does IDA lead to health complications?

Mild cases of IDA usually don't cause complications. However, left untreated, IDA can increase in severity and contribute to serious health problems. For example, it may lead to a rapid or irregular heartbeat, a complicated pregnancy that can put the mother at risk for a premature delivery or low-birth-weight baby, and delayed growth in infants and children. The good news is that, because IDA is easily treatable, its potential health consequences are generally avoidable.

How is IDA treated?

It's essential to increase the amount of iron in your diet. Foods rich in iron include meat, fish, poultry, and wholegrain breads. However, in most cases of IDA, diet alone isn't enough to correct the problem. Iron supplementation is usually needed for several months. Your doctor has prescribed Ferralet® 90, a safe and effective iron supplement to help restore your body's iron to normal levels. Plus, it offers the convenience of once-daily dosing. Together with an iron-rich diet, taking Ferralet 90 every day can make a big difference in helping restore your body's iron, and with it your energy and overall feeling of well-being.

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