Iron-deficiency Anemia

July 2, 2008

A client I am seeing today has iron-deficiency anemia, so, I thought I would write my first post about that.
Iron-deficiency anemia is a common condition, which occurs when there is not enough iron in the body. Iron is necessary to carry oxygen in the blood so that it can be transported to the rest of the body and also to make new red blood cells.

The causes of it are usually due to bleeding, inadequate iron intake through diet, or problems absorbing iron from foods. Menstruating and pregnant women, young children and adults who have intestinal bleeding are among the highest at risk. Other adults such as those on dialysis, vegetarians, and older adults who have a poor diet are also at risk for iron-deficiency.
The major symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia include fatigue, pale skin, weakness, shortness of breath, headache, lightheadedness, and cold hands or feet.
If you have iron-deficiency anemia or would like to prevent it, it’s important to have adequate iron intake. The best way to ensure you are getting enough iron is to eat a well-balanced diet- one that includes grains, fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products.

There are two types of iron in foods- heme and non-heme. Heme-iron is found in meat, poultry, and fish and is more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is found primarily in plant foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables. Absorption of non-heme iron in enhanced when consumed with meats or with Vitamin C-containing foods (e.g. citrus foods). An example of an iron-enhancing meal would be: ½ cup orange juice; Iron-fortified cereal; 1 cup milk; 2 slices whole grain toast with margarine.
Foods with the highest sources of iron include- liver, clams, shrimp, oysters, beans, spinach, cashews, sunflower seeds, fortified cereals.
Foods with the highest sources of Vitamin-C include- orange juice and oranges; green peppers; grapefruit; strawberries; broccoli; cauliflower; and tomatoes.
For some people, a high-iron diet is not enough, so, an iron-supplement may be needed. It’s always good to check with your doctor.


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