Anemia/Iron Deficiency in Washington
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What is anemia/iron deficiency?
Typically, anemia develops when a person's blood lacks an adequate amount of healthy red blood cells and, therefore, cannot carry sufficient amounts of oxygen to the body. Iron deficiency anemia is a commonly seen type of anemia resulting from a shortage of iron in the body which inhibits it from manufacturing hemoglobin. Hemoglobin (a protein found in red blood cells) carries oxygen. Without iron to aid in hemoglobin production, oxygen cannot be correctly delivered to the body. Iron deficiency and anemia may cause severe health problems when not treated. You can find care for anemia in Washington. If you believe you or a loved one might have this condition, we urge you to contact Washington Gastroenterology at your earliest convenience.
What are the causes of anemia/iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency anemia is caused by insufficient amounts of iron in your blood. Iron is the element that enables the blood to make hemoglobin. A variety of circumstances can precipitate an iron deficiency:
- A deficiency of iron in your diet
- Loss of blood, heavy menstruation, etc.
- An inability to absorb iron (the small intestine may become compromised from a disease such as celiac disease)
- Intravascular hemolysis
Risk factors for iron deficiency anemia can include:
- Those maintaining a vegetarian or vegan diet
- Those who donate blood
- Biological women
- Infants and children
If you or someone you love suspects an iron deficiency, speak with a provider at Washington Gastroenterology to be sure that anemia does not become an issue.
What are some symptoms of anemia/iron deficiency?
Insufficient oxygen results in numerous iron deficiency complications. The most common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia can include:
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- Paleness of the skin
- Brittle nails
- Fatigue that cannot be explained
- Rapid heart rate
- Painful or smooth tongue
- Loss of hair
- Craving for ice or clay (pagophagia)
- Lack of warmth in hands or feet
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Lack of hunger
If you suspect you may have an iron deficiency in Washington, help is available. Iron deficiency anemia is a condition that must be diagnosed by a professional. Supplementing with iron in pill form without a provider's supervision can be harmful. See your provider if you persistently suffer from any combination of the listed symptoms. If you or someone you love is suffering from these symptoms, we encourage you to call a local Washington Gastroenterology team and ask about investigating the possibility of iron deficiency.
How is iron deficiency anemia treated?
Treatments for iron deficiency anemia are pretty straightforward, and their primary goal is to get more iron in the body. It is important to note that some conditions and medications can interfere with iron absorption. The most common ways to treat iron deficiency anemia include:
- Taking oral contraceptives to reduce bleeding during menstruation
- Taking iron tablets on an empty stomach
- Treatment for conditions that impede absorption, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease
- Increasing intake of foods rich in iron
- Taking iron supplements without antacids
- Antibiotics to treat peptic ulcers
- Repair or treatment for internal bleeding
- Taking iron supplements at the same time as vitamin C
Foods rich in iron:
- Beef or other red meat
- Leafy greens
- Dried fruit
Vitamin C-rich foods (to aid in iron absorption):
- Leafy greens
Comprehensive treatment for anemia
Iron deficiency anemia can progress into serious health issues if improperly treated. If the tissues and cells in the major organs are not given the oxygen they require, they begin to suffer damage or scarring. It is also important to note that your heart can be damaged with iron deficiency anemia because it is trying to supply additional blood to oxygen-deprived portions of the body. However, help is available for iron deficiency anemia in Washington. Iron deficiency treatment may require two to three weeks to reverse symptoms. Depending on why you were anemic in the first place, you may need to take iron supplements for an extensive period to ensure that the anemia will not return. If you have been diagnosed with, or have suspicions of, anemia, please connect with your local Washington Gastroenterology to ensure you get the ideal treatment for your situation.
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