Understand Iron Deficiency- Iron deficiency will last as long as its cause persists. Iron usually needs to be taken for many months to bring the levels back to normal.
Iron deficiency is the commonest cause of anemia. However the prognosis is usually good and most people with iron deficiency recover completely with iron supplements and dietary changes. A person diagnosed with anemia due to iron deficiency would naturally want to know how things like long will iron deficiency last, whether he needs treatment, for how will he need treatment.
Cause of iron deficiency: Iron deficiency can be caused due to several reasons such as---
- Inadequate iron intake: If your diet lacks food rich in iron you can develop iron deficiency
- Loss of iron from body: If you have a disease or condition (such as bleeding ulcer, piles, polyp or cancerous tumor in your intestine, or excessive menstrual bleeding) which cause loss of blood you are at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia.
- Inability to absorb iron: Some people may not be able absorb iron present in the food. This can be caused by disease like celiac disease, chronic diarrhea.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant womenneed twice as much iron as usual and the iron present in food cannot their meet the total iron requirement.
- How long does iron deficiency last: The time needed to correct iron deficiency and the anemia will depend on the underlying cause and the treatment given.
- Iron deficiency caused due to inadequate iron intake or in pregnancy respond well to iron therapy. However it can take months to correct the iron deficiency and restore hemoglobin to normal levels.
- Response of iron deficiency due to some underlying condition such as bleeding ulcer, piles, polyp or cancerous tumor in your intestine, or excessive menstrual bleeding will depend on the treatment of the condition. If the underlying cause is corrected--- iron deficiency with proper treatment may resolve in a few months.
- Iron deficiency due to celiac disease, chronic diarrhea can be difficult to treat.
Iron Supplements: These supplements can help to correct iron deficiency. Your doctor will usually recommendoral iron supplements. It is important to take iron supplements as recommended by your doctor. Excess iron intake will not correct iron deficiency earlier and in fact can be harmful.Parenteral iron therapy (IV or IM) is usually reserved for people who cannot take oral iron supplements or need immediate treatment for iron-deficiency anemia---as it has some safety concerns. In parenteral iron therapy iron is administered into a muscle (intramuscular) or an IV line in one of your blood vessels may be done if your anemia is severe.
Dietary changes: Your doctor will recommend diet rich in iron to correct iron deficiency or protect from further iron deficiency. Some foods which are rich in iron include red meat, and other animal products such as chicken, turkey, pork, fish, and shellfish. Some nonmeat foods that are good sources of iron are;
- iron-fortified breads and cereals
- peas, lentils, beans, soybeans and chickpeas
- dried fruits, such as prunes, raisins, apricots
- spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables
- tofu, prune juice.
If you have anemia it is advisable to consult a doctor to confirm if it is due to an iron deficiency or some other cause. Your doctor will treat you for iron-deficiency based on the cause and severity.
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