Iron Deficiency or Anemia is a general medical condition that is characterized by low levels of healthy red blood cells (RBC) in the body. The red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the various tissues present in the body.
Treatments for Iron Deficiency Anemia
There is a direct relation between iron and RBC. Insufficient amounts of iron in the body would inhibit the natural production of hemoglobin in the body. This in turn would lead to a decreased RBC count which supply oxygen to the other parts of the body. And this would with time lead to what is called iron deficiency or anemia.
Common Causes for Anemia
Before finding out different ways to treat anemia, it is imperative that you understand the reasons behind the condition. Accordingly, anemia is characterized by the decrease of RBC in the body. This can occur due to heavy bleeding from an accident, infection or menstruation (in women); or inadequate amount of iron being absorbed by the individual on a regular basis.
Treatment for Anemia
Any form of treatment for anemia would have one sole purpose, to increase the iron stores present in the body so the RBC count increases to normal levels. Treatments for ammonia would also try to identify and control the conditions that seem to cause the issue in the first place.
One of the best and most natural ways to treat anemia is to increase the amount of iron your body absorbs on a daily basis. And eating foods that are rich in iron can help you do just that!Accordingly, you can opt for iron rich foods like dark green, leafy vegetables (like spinach), beans, peas, pastas, cereals, breads, dried fruits (like apricots, raisins etc.) eggs, poultry, red meat and fish etc.An easy way to stimulate the body to absorb more iron would be to eat foods rich in Vitamin C. This particular nutrient would help your body absorb more iron from the foods that you intake.
So make it a point to eat foods rich in both iron and Vitamin C for maximum benefits. You can opt for foods like lemon, oranges, broccoli, kiwi, green leafy vegetables, grapefruit, melons, peppers, tomatoes, mangoes, strawberries and other forms of citrus juices that are rich in Vitamin C for the same.
In most cases, anemia can be treated effectively using iron supplements in the form of pills. These pills will help your body absorb more iron from the foods you eat in addition to providing the necessary amount of iron needed for a normal RBC count.You would most probably need to take 1-3 iron pills each day and would need to continue with the medication for at least a couple of months before the iron stores in your body are replenished. Make sure you check with your doctor before opting for any kind of iron supplements in order to avoid unnecessary side effects later on.
Side Effects of Iron Pills
It is considered best to first diagnose the exact cause for anemia before opting for iron pills. In certain cases where the anemia is not related to iron deficiency, iron pills can potentially cause a condition called hemochromatosis or iron overload.Iron pills can also cause iron toxicity in individuals with anemia that is not caused due to iron deficiency. In these cases, taking iron pills can significantly camouflage a much serious condition like bleeding ulcers or colorectal cancer.
Iron pills can also have a series of other general side effects in people who take them regularly. Some of the more common side effects experienced include uneasiness, stomach pain, constipation, nausea, diarrhea, or black stools. In these cases, your doctor would prescribe another pill or suggest an alternate form of treatment to replenish the iron stores in your body.
Iron Replacement Shots
In case you have an issue absorbing iron from other than food or pills that you intake, your doctor would most probably recommend iron replacement shots that would help replenish the iron stores in your body. Sadly, these shots are prescribed only after the initial treatments fail and chances are you would need to take iron replacement shots regularly for the rest of your life.Another issue with iron replacement shots is that they can cause allergic reactions on the skin if administered intravenously. Again, shots administered intramuscularly in the buttocks can give rise to permanent tattoo like marks on the skin.
Blood Transfusion and Alternate Forms of Treatments
In extremely rare cases where the body loses a lot of iron immediately (in the case of accidents where there is heavy blood loss), a doctor may order for a blood transfusion to normalize the iron stores and RBC count in the body.The individual’s condition will be closely monitored for any specific illnesses that could decrease the levels of iron or inhibit the body’s ability to absorb iron.
Accordingly, during the course of treatment, a series of blood tests would be taken to determine the levels of RBC (the CBC test), the levels of iron present in the body (iron tests), the amount of iron that can be stored by the body (the Ferritin Level test), and the effectiveness of the ensuing treatment (the Reticulocyte Count test).Once the iron levels are stabilised, the individual is shifted to either iron pills or iron replacement shots for further treatment.