Iron Deficiency and Its Three Stages


According to the World health organization, around 80% of the world is experiencing an iron deficiency. It is the condition when your body does not have adequate iron content. Maybe it sounds very easy to you, but iron deficiency is not a joke. It can give birth to deadly health issues.

A protein called hemoglobin present in our blood, which supplies oxygen to every organ of our body. The deficiency of iron hinders the formation of hemoglobin, which leads to an improper supply of oxygen to the sensitive organs  ( heart, lungs, kidney, etc.) of the body. The low iron levels also decrease the formation of RBCs (red blood cells) and cause anemia. The person who undergoes iron-deficiency anemia feels dizzy and weak often. Their skin complexion turns pale, and their nails get brittle. Beside this, they are at high risk of heart related issues.

In comparison to men, females and kids are at higher risk of anemia. The inadequate iron content in the blood can prevent children from growing. The deficiency of iron may leave women tired and affect their menstruation cycle. Women's bodies demand more iron during pregnancy, mensuration periods, and perimenopause period. That’s why physicians suggest women take the best iron supplements. The daily iron need for women between 19 to 50 age is 18 milligrams. But, if you are pregnant, then you need to consume 30 mg elemental iron per day. This is because the developing placenta and growing fetus demand more iron.

Iron deficiency is categorized into three stages. In the first stage, you can intake iron-rich foods ( green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, berries, etc.) to treat iron deficiency. But during later stages, it is impossible to fill iron gaps solely with iron-rich foods; you also need to take iron supplements to overcome the iron deficiency. Here are the 3 major stages of iron deficiency.

       In the first phase, the iron content decreases, but the hemoglobin and red blood cell counts remain normal. During the first phase of iron deficiency, you will not realize any symptoms. The only way to detect the initial phase of iron deficiency is the serum ferritin test. Ferritin is also a blood protein like hemoglobin. Its level falls to 44.9 pmol/L as at the 1st stage of iron deficiency. By measuring this protein in the blood, low iron contents can be detected very soon. In this stage, people feel fatigued and find it difficult to do heavy exercises. In this phase, eat as much iron-rich as possible so that the iron deficiency process stops here only.

       During the second phase of iron deficiency, the number of red blood cells starts decreasing. Iron is an essential element in the formation of red blood cells, and its inadequacy directly affects the formation of RBCs. The second phase of iron deficiency is detected by the zinc protoporphyrin test, also known as the ZPP test. When our body does not get iron in its readily available form, it starts using zinc in lieu of blood in making ZPP. The physicians measure the transferrin ( a protein that delivers iron to blood) levels to diagnose iron deficiency in the second phase.

       The third stage is the last stage of iron deficiency; In this stage, the victims are prone to anemia. At this point, the hemoglobin levels of individuals fall below the required level. The optimum level of HB for women 15 to 16 milligrams and for men is 14 to 16.5 grams. At this point, the body tries to struggle against iron deficiency in a plethora of ways. Our body tries to compensate for low levels of iron by increasing the erythropoietin content and decreasing the production of the hexidine.

Treatment of iron deficiency should be started as soon as its symptoms reflect. In severe conditions, anemia can cause breathing problems, heart-related issues, and various cancers.

Treatments for Iron Deficiency

       Take Iron supplements one hour before meals. They come in myriad forms: capsules, pills, gums, etc.

       Introduce vitamin C rich foods and supplements in your diet because they make iron absorption easy.

       Eat red meat, beans, egg yolks, and whole-grain foods. They are an abundant source of Ferrum.

The Bottom Line

It is vital to concern doctors before starting taking iron supplements to boost iron stores.

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