A common form of nutritional disorder, iron deficiency results in anemia as iron is necessary to make hemoglobin, key molecule in red blood cells responsible for the transport of oxygen. In iron deficiency anemia, the red cells appear abnormal and are unusually small (microcytic) and pale (hypochromic). The pallor of the red cells reflects their low hemoglobin content.
The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia spans all ages and races. In children, iron deficiency causes developmental delays, behavioral disturbances, failure to thrive (grow) and increased infections.
Iron deficiency is a major problem in developed countries such as the US, Canada, the UK and across Europe. In developing countries, iron deficiency anemia is frequently exacerbated by malaria and worm infections.
The treatment of iron deficiency anemia , whether it be in children or adults, is with iron and iron-containing foods. Food sources of iron include meat, poultry, eggs, vegetables and cereals (especially those fortified with iron). According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Recommended Dietary Allowances of iron are 15 milligrams per day for women and 10 milligrams per day for men. Do not give iron supplements to children unless the doctor recommends it.
A cause of iron deficiency anemia is the ulcer bacteria. The successful treatment of infection with Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria associated with irritation of the stomach lining and stomach ulcers) may also resolve iron deficiency anemia.
Iron deficiency can also result from blood loss anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract, and is sometimes associated with cancer.
- Iron excess
People with certain genetic conditions such as hemochromatosis; and People receiving repeated blood transfusions. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Recommended Dietary Allowances of iron for women ages 19 to 50 is 18 milligrams per day and for men ages 19+, 8 milligrams per day.
- Iron overload
People with certain genetic conditions such as hemochromatosis; and People receiving repeated blood transfusions. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Recommended Dietary Allowances of iron are 15 milligrams per day for women and 10 milligrams per day for men.
- Iron poisoning
Iron supplements meant for adults (such as pregnant women) are a major cause of poisoning in children. Care should be taken to keep iron supplements safely away from children.
- Iron supplementation, infant
Iron is included in most infant formulas. Therefore, there is no evidence that iron supplementation is necessary for healthy formula-fed, full-term infants. In the past it was recommended that infants from birth to 4 months of age could receive a lower quantity of iron compared with those from 4 to 12 months of age. As […]
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