The popular believe that mixing egg with milk or malt with milk and taking it as blood tonic to suddenly increase or boost your blood levels, or as a blood tonic, is wrong and not in any way scientifically proven. Blood is vital to the human body system. The red blood cell is the most abundant type of cell in the blood and its main function is to collect and deliver oxygen, from the lungs to the tissues and carbondioxide away from the tissues to the lungs. Therefore, shortage of blood (usually less than 10g of haemoglobin in 100ml of blood), as well as the oxygen carrying capacity of blood, results to a condition known as ANEMIA.
The World Health Organization (W.H.O), estimated that globally, anemia affects 43 percent children, 38 percent of women during pregnancy, and 29 percent of women who are not pregnant. Anemia is a condition in which the level of red blood cells in the blood and their oxygen-carrying capacity is not enough to meet the body’s psychological needs. Symptoms of anemia depends on the type of anemia, severity, causes and underlying health condition. The most common type of anemia is the iron deficiency anemia in which this article will be focused on.
What is Iron Deficiency Anemia?
Iron is needed to make haemoglobin (red blood cells), so when the body lacks the nutrient iron that carries oxygenated blood throughout the body, it will lead to a condition called iron deficiency anemia. This may occur as a result of low intake of iron rich foods, or the inability of the body to properly absorb iron. Pregnant women are at risk of developing anemia due to the fact that the baby they are carrying also needs blood of its own. The impact of iron deficiency anemia on human health is significant although it rarely causes death.
What Happens When a Person Has Iron Deficiency Anemia
The body no longer has enough of iron to manufacture haemoglobin, the protein responsible for oxygen transport in the blood. The body begins to manufacture abnormal red blood cells that are not capable of carrying oxygen making the body deficient of sufficient oxygen.
6 Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia
- Poor diet
- Mal-absorption and utilization of iron
- Loss of blood (heavy and prolonged menstruation, accidents)
- Iron depleting medications
- Intravascular haemolysis
- Peptic ulcer
Signs and Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia
- Shortness of breath
- Brittle nails
- Pale looking skin
Treatment of Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency anemia can be treated. Treating iron deficiency will require treating the underlying cause of iron deficiency, as well as undergoing iron replacement therapy. Iron replacement therapy should include eating a diet rich in iron, vitamin C, folate, vitamins and minerals, taking iron rich supplements either orally or through injections. It is important to eat foods rich in the nutrient iron in other to help prevent iron deficiency anemia.
Dietary Treatment of Iron Deficiency Anemia
Here are some foods rich in iron that you can easily fix into your diet.
- Dark chocolates
- Legumes such as beans
- Red meat
- Beef liver
Adding vitamin C to your diet will also aid in the absorption of iron by the body. Fruits such as oranges, watermelons, mangoes and carrots are rich in vitamin C.