Iron is an essential nutrient to maintain the overall health of the body. Iron deficiency can be detrimental to the physical well being and trigger many other ailments in the body.
Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen and deficiency of iron can result in formation of less number of red blood cells thereby affecting the oxygen supply to the muscles. The causes can be less intake of iron in daily diet, low absorption rate of iron by the body or heavy loss of blood.
Lead poisoning in children has also been identified as one of the causes for low iron levels. To produce hemoglobin, body requires iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid. Deficiency of any of these can cause anemia. Anemia is the most common consequence of chronic iron deficiency. Lethargy, fatigue, breathlessness, etc are some of the symptoms of anemia.
The skin around eyes, gums and nails tends to become pale due to insufficiency of iron. The rate of heart beat is accelerated owing to this problem and blood pressure becomes low. People with low levels of iron in the body always feel cold. Iron insufficiency causes the nails to become fragile and brittle.
Women are more susceptible to anemia and it can result in heavy bleeding and severe pain during menstruation cycle. Children suffering from iron deficiency lose their appetite and their immunity to fight against diseases and infections is affected. Tongue becomes sore, reddened and shiny.
Breathlessness may be felt during exercise or climbing stairs. Headaches, pain in abdomen, sleeplessness, etc are some other symptoms of iron deficiency. Iron deficiency can be treated by intake of supplements that that compensate for the low levels of iron in the body.
Changes in the diet can be made to maintain the level of iron. Foods like whole grains, poultry products, fish, beans, nuts, meat, green vegetables, etc are rich sources of iron. Deficiency of iron in pregnant women can cause problems to the expecting mother and the fetus.
It is imperative for a pregnanat woman to intake adequate quantity of iron to ensure the safe and healthy development of the fetus inside her womb and avoid complications.