Self-Care 3 January, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.
This is a common type of anemia that happens when the body does not have enough iron to produce healthy red blood cells. Learn about its main causes.
As stated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, low levels of iron are generally due to blood loss, poor diet or an inability to absorb enough iron from food.
When this happens, the body produces less red blood cells and people may feel fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain, among other symptoms. This condition may cause heart problems and among children, growth and development problems.
Understand its main causes
- Blood loss: By losing blood, you lose iron, causing anemia. The condition common in women as the result of long and heavy menstrual periods or when there are bleeding fibroids in the uterus.
- Poor diet: The best sources of iron are meats, poultry and iron-fortified foods. If these foods or not consumed regularly or if supplements with the proper amounts of it are not taken, the chances of suffering from this condition are greater.
- Inability to absorb enough iron: There are some people who, despite including amounts of iron in their diets, have problems absorbing it. This may be related to a disease of the intestine such as Crohn’s disease (inflammation of the digestive system) or celiac disease (intolerance to the gluten found in grains).
Supplements: The purpose of supplements are to increase the concentration of iron as fast as possible. To know which supplements are adequate and in what amounts, it is critical to see a doctor. Self-medicating is not recommended.
Diet: The body tends to absorb the iron from meat better than it does from other foods. The following foods may also help increase these levels, however: walnuts, pistachios, toasted almonds, sesame seeds, and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin C: Helps the body to absorb the iron. Good sources of vitamin C include fruits and vegetables, especially: guava, red and green peppers, kiwi, oranges and pomelo.
Related article: The importance of iron (article in Spanish)