Iron deficiency anaemia is the commonest type of anaemia and it can vary in severity from mild to severe. If the anaemia is mild you may have no symptoms but as the anaemia worsens, signs and symptom
s become more evident.
Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia may include:
1. Fatigue or feeling tired often.
2. Pale skin or pallor.
3. Change in heart beat that is fast or irregular heartbeat.
4. Shortness of breath.
5. Chest pain or discomfort.
6. Dizziness or feeling giddy.
7. Difficulty in concentration (Cognitive problems).
8. Cold hands and feet.
9. Headache and irritability.
10.Inflamed or sore tongue.
12.Pica i.e. craving to eat non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch.
13.Poor appetite. It is more common in infants and children.
14.Tingling or crawling feeling in the legs (restless legs syndrome) while you sit, go to sleep or rest.
If you suspect you have signs and symptoms suggesting iron deficiency anaemia, consult a doctor. Self-treatment for iron deficiency anaemia with iron supplements is not recommended as excess iron can be harmful.
However, most cases of iron deficiency anaemia and other vitamin deficiency anaemia can be prevented by eating a diet that includes food rich in iron, vitamins and other nutrients.:
• Eat dark, leafy greens such as spinach.kale, bok choy, Swiss chard.
• Whole grain products and legumes like lentils or white beans supply iron and other valuable minerals.
• Consume dried fruits such as raisins, prunes and apricots.
• Seaweed is a great source of iron, as is blackstrap molasses.
• Eggs contain iron.
• Tofu and prune juice also contain iron.
• Kidney, lima and soy beans a great source of iron.
• Animal Foods rich in iron: Red meat, especially liver is good sources of iron. Animal products such as chicken, turkey,fish, and shellfish also are good sources of iron.Iron from animal food products is better absorbed than from non-meat foods.
• Vitamin C: Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron in your body. So include foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits (such as oranges, grapefruits and tangerines), goose berry, kiwi fruit, strawberries, broccoli, peppers, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, and leafy green vegetables.
• Do not drink coffee or tea with iron-rich meals as it interferes with the process of iron absorption. Wait for at least half an hour.
• Infants and young children are at increased risk of developing iron deficiency anaemia as their diet can be deficient in iron. For example, the iron content of cow’s milk is low; hence cow's milk should not be given to babies in their first year. To prevent iron deficiency anaemia in infants , breast milk or an iron-fortified formula is recommended for the first year.
Pre-menopausal women (i.e. in childbearing age) may develop iron-deficiency anaemia, especially if they have:
#Poor nutritional intake.
#History of menorrhagia (heavy blood loss during periods).
#History of iron-deficiency anaemia.
During pregnancy, women need iron supplements to prevent iron deficiency.