Anemia is a condition that affects over 3 million Americans. While the symptoms may not be detected at first, anemia can cause everything from fatigue to depression. It can especially become a problem with women during their menstrual cycle and pregnancy. But, what is anemia and how does it affect the body? Let’s take a closer look at what iron deficiency anemia is and how it’s treated.

What Is Anemia?

Iron deficiency anemia is a result of the body not getting enough iron, which results in a number of lower red blood cells in the bloodstream. Because iron is the building block of red blood cells, not getting enough iron can cause anemia. Red blood cells are essential because they carry oxygen throughout the body. Without enough red blood cells, or by having blood cells that are too small, your body can experience the symptoms of anemia, which will be discussed later. It is important to note that iron deficiency anemia can be the cause of a poor diet, but there are other conditions that can cause anemia. In some people, the body is simply unable to absorb iron. Another reason may be that you’re losing more red blood cells than your body can replace. Last, but not least, some people need more iron that the average person.

What Are the Symptoms of Anemia?

The symptoms of iron deficiency anemia can be mild enough that they aren’t easily detected, but they can also be very severe. Those suffering from iron deficiency anemia may experience any of the following symptoms: irritability, fatigue, headaches, depression, a shortness of breath, inability to concentrate and even pale skin.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Iron deficiency anemia can be detected with simple blood tests. A nurse will be able to prick your finger and run the blood through a machine to determine your hemoglobin levels. If the levels are low, your doctor may order a more complete blood screening to determine if you are anemic.

What Are the Anemia Treatment Options?

The most basic form of iron deficiency treatment begins with eating a diet rich in iron. Foods such as chicken, dark greens, liver and peanut butter contain high levels of iron. Your doctor may also put you on an iron supplement. In some cases, iron treatments may have to be done intravenously. Iron treatment should take 2 months to complete, but the patient should continue to have their hemoglobin levels checked for up to a year.

Iron deficiency anemia can make you feel worn down and even depressed. However, the treatments for iron deficiency anemia are easy and affective. In other words, this is a condition that is easy to take care of. __

Novella Matteo suffers from iron deficiency anemia and stresses the importance of seeing a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment planning. She loves studying women’s health issues and recommends and other similar sites to women interested in understanding the human body.