Problems in this regulation cause iron deficiency or overload. This balance is mostly done in the small intestine. In the US iron deficiency is most common in women or due to a hemorrhage. The deficiency due to diet alone is rare when meat is an important part of the daily meals. In some countries where meat is not as common, iron deficient anemia occurs 6-8 times more often then in North America and Europe. This happens because heme iron, from meats, is absorbed better than nonheme iron. Knowing the diet history of a patient is important because vegetarians are more likely to have a iron deficiency.
Bleeding because of hemorrhage is the most common reason for someone to be iron deficient. Iron deficiency causes fatigue and a lower ability to perform difficult manual labor. There is some evidence to show there are many other symptoms also, such as poor school performance, lower resistance to infection, and altered behavior. There are some lab tests that cam be done to show the diagnosis and severity of iron deficient anemia such as a complete blood count, which shows the concentration of red blood cells. The platelet count is often higher with iron deficient anemia. The white blood count is usually normal.
A peripheral smear can also be done to examine the individual red blood cells. A bone marrow aspirate can also be used to determine iron deficiency by staining the iron. Other tests can also be used to make sure there are not any greater complications, such as testing the stool for blood to make sure there is not bleeding that is causing the anemia. Medical care is needed to diagnose the iron deficiency and then also to find a cause for the situation. Iron deficient anemia can usually be treated with oral iron supplements, and a diet higher in iron can help so that the anemia does not happen again.
Surgical treatment would only be necessary to correct a hemorrhage or to correct a disease that was causing the bleeding. Worldwide, diet is the leading cause of iron deficiency. It is not a problem that will be solved by simply telling everyone to eat more meat. Also often times, bread contains things that cause lower absorption of iron. Supplements can be added by using a daily supplement or an addition of nonheme iron to foods that we eat everyday. Usually ferrous iron salts are the best supplement, and often, ferrous sulfate is the most common.
Transfusions can also be used if there is a great deal of blood loss, and often times, there can even be blood has a higher concentration of red blood cells to assist in getting the levels of red blood cells and iron regulated. Supplements can usually show an increase in 5-10 days after they are begun. Prevention includes a normal diet of heme iron and if that can not be achieved, then possibly going on a daily supplement to help with iron levels. Works Cited Conrad,