Animation of blood cells or red blood cells flowing in stream in artery of human body
The terms iron deficiency and anaemia cannot be used interchangeably and are different
New Delhi, February 22, 2019: As per a recent study, fortification coupled with supplementation may expose varying but significant proportions of women in 24 states or union territories to the risk of excessive iron intake. The tolerable upper limit for women of reproductive age is 45 mg per day. Prolonged exposure to iron above this limit could put women at risk of experiencing symptoms such as gastric acidity, constipation, oxidative (physiological) stress or changes in their gut bacterial profile.
Iron deficiency (depleted iron stores in the body) and anaemia, on the other hand, are often perceived as interchangeable terms. While iron deficiency is the most common cause of anaemia, but the two are different. Deficiency of iron without anaemia is much more prevalent than is detected. A person may have iron deficiency even if the haemoglobin is normal. The majority are unaware of their iron deficient state.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type of anaemia, and occurs when the body doesn’t have enough of this mineral. In the absence of enough iron in the bloodstream, the rest of your body cannot get the amount of oxygen it needs. What exacerbates this condition is that many people are unaware that they have iron deficiency anaemia. At times, one may experience the symptoms for years without knowing what they are due to. A poor diet or certain intestinal diseases that affect iron absorption can also lead to this condition. This deficiency is usually treated with iron supplements or changes to diet.”
Some symptoms of moderate-to-severe iron deficiency anemia include general fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, cravings for things such as dirt, a tingling or crawling feeling in the legs, soreness or swelling in the tongue, cold hands and feet, fast or irregular heartbeat, brittle nails, and headaches.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Mostly, iron deficiency anaemia is mild, and does not lead to any further complications, and can be corrected easily. However, if left untreated for a long time, it can cause other health problems. In pregnant women, this can lead to the birth of a premature or low-birth-weight baby. Consuming a healthy diet rich in all the essential nutrients is thus a way of reducing harm.”
Some tips from HCFI
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