If you’re feeling extra tired lately, you might wonder if your food has to do something with it. Inadequate iron is one of the most common nutrient deficiency in Australia. And it can definitely leave you feeling tired and irritable.
Iron deficiency is considered by the World Health Organisation to be the most common and widespread nutrient deficiency in the world. They estimate about 30% of the world’s population is anaemic, but would you ever know if you’re one of them?
The answer is “maybe”. Iron deficiency can go undiagnosed as many symptoms can be mistaken as simple tiredness or a seasonal headache.
Iron deficiency occurs when the body doesn’t have enough of the mineral, iron. Our body needs them to produce haemoglobin, a component of the blood that carries oxygen around the body.
A deficiency in iron would mean your muscles and tissues won’t get enough oxygen to work effectively, leaving you tired and irritable. This is called Iron Deficiency Anaemia.
Iron deficiency is a huge health concern in Australia
Iron deficiency is a much bigger concern than you ever imagined. Not only in the entire world, it is also the most common nutrient deficiency in Australia.
According to a report on Iron-Deficiency by the Medibank Better Health Index, more than one million Australians are anaemic. Young women aged 18-30 are typically among the worst affected due to menstruation and pregnancy contributing to an increased requirement for iron in their body.
There is also a growing concern on new diet trends that younger generations are reducing the consumption of iron-rich foods including red meat.
What are the common causes of iron deficiency?
Although diet is the main concern for iron deficiency, there are many other reasons why a person can become deficient in iron. They are:
- Failing to eat an iron-rich diet during rapid growing stage such as young children and pregnant women
- Inadequate consumption of iron-rich food such as meat, eggs and green leafy vegetables
- Blood loss during childbirth and periods in women
- Certain medical conditions where iron is not absorbed optimally such as Celiac Disease
- Internal bleeding due to ulcer in your stomach, Endometriosis and Colon Cancer
Symptoms of iron deficiency
Iron depletion takes time. Initially, iron deficiency can be so mild, that it can go unnoticed.
But, as it progresses, the signs and symptoms of anaemia will intensify.
The symptoms of iron deficiency include:
- An unusual craving for snacks and other non-nutritious food
- Feeling exhausted from doing simple work
- Inflammation and soreness in the throat
- Irregular and rapid heartbeat
- Skin that is paler than usual
- Headaches and dizziness
- Cold hands and feet
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme weakness
- Brittle nails
How do I find out if I am Iron-deficient?
The only way to find out if you’re deficient in iron is a blood test. A blood test will help find where you sit on the iron-deficiency spectrum. You might be advised to take other tests whether there is an underlying cause of iron-deficiency.
But the most important thing is taking doctor’s advice. Even if you’re aware of your symptoms or know that your diet is low in iron, don’t self diagnose or treat it with drugstore supplements.
How can Iron Infusion benefit in iron-deficiency?
If you’re anaemic or have trouble tolerating iron supplements, Iron Infusion can come as a saviour.
This intravenously administered treatment places a needle into the vein and attached to a drip containing iron mixed with saline. As the combination mixes with the blood, it restores iron to a healthy level much faster than any supplements or dietary changes.
At our Iron Infusion Centre at Victoria Point, our doctors are highly experienced in administering Intravenous Iron Infusions. They will also recommend further blood tests if another infusion would be required.