Iron deficiency anaemia
Iron deficiency anaemia was responsible for more than 100,000 hospital admissions in the UK in one year. Lack of iron can lead to heart problems and infections, along with complications during pregnancy.
Your body needs iron to produce haemoglobin, which transports oxygen to your cells. A lack of iron can lead to symptoms including:
• Shortness of breath
• Heart palpitations
• Pale skin
• Feeling itchy
• A sore tongue
• Hair loss, especially when brushing or washing hair
• Finding it hard to swallow
• Ulcers in the corners of the mouth
• Spoon-shaped nails
• Restless leg syndrome
In some cases an iron deficiency can be due to diet, but there are other possibilities including internal bleeding from a variety of conditions.
Iron is found in foods such as red meat, pulses, wholegrains, dark leafy greens, apricots, prunes and figs. Iron supplements may also be required, although side effects including abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhoea. These side effects are less common with supplements that have been formulated for optimal absorption.
If you suspect you may be deficient in iron, it is important to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
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