Anemia, iron deficiency

  • Decrease in hemoglobin and/or red blood cells due to low iron content in the body
  • Symptoms may include tiredness and shortness of breath
  • Cause often the result of not eating enough food containing iron, loss of red blood cells or poor iron absorption
  • Cannot be spread from person to person
  • Affects males and females
  • Can occur at any age but more common in women before menopause
  • May be mild to severe depending on cause

GENERAL THERAPY

  • Increase intake of iron rich foods, such as liver, eggs, whole-grain, beans, red meat, peas dried food, green leafy vegetables or iron-fortified foods
  • Steaming vegetables to maintain the iron content
  • Cooking can be done in iron pots
  • Over-the-counter medicines (refer to manufacturer’s recommendations for dosage):
    • Multivitamin containing iron
    • Iron supplements: take with vitamin C or orange juice to increase absorption

PRECAUTIONS AND AVOIDANCES

  • Avoid taking supplements:
    • Within 2 hours of antacids or tetracycline
    • With tea, coffee, chocolate, milk or other calcium or caffeine rich foods
    • With high-fiber foods: bran, whole grains, nuts, and raw green vegetables
  • Do not give cow’s milk or goat’s milk to children under 12 months; children 1-5 years should drink limited amounts of these milks
  • Supplements should be kept out of reach of children

SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IF

  • If you are pregnant
  • If you have nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion or diarrhea, seek help immediately

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