Gastroenterologist treatment Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Anaemia is due to reduced blood count (namely haemoglobin inside red blood cells) and is commonly caused by reduced iron body stores.

To put it simply Iron deficiency anaemia means that your body isn’t making a high enough number of red blood cells. This is because the level of iron in your blood is too low.  Red blood cells are needed because they carry oxygen to your body’s tissues.

Anaemia can also be caused by vitamin B12 and folate deficiency, amongst other causes. When there is a deficiency of iron in the body, finding the underlying cause is paramount. Many of the causes are easily reversible, but it can be due to gastrointestinal cancer so it is really important to get checked out by a specialist to ensure a fast diagnosis

. The risk of gastrointestinal cancer increases with age and is higher if there is a family history of the disease. Early diagnosis allows treatment for cancer and non-cancer causes of iron deficiency.

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Iron deficiency Anaemia Doctor and treatment

    Causes of Iron Deficiency Anaemia

    Iron deficiency anaemia can be caused by insufficient iron intake, insufficient absorption or excess iron loss, most commonly in the gastrointestinal tract.

    Iron deficiency anaemia is common and is a common reason for endoscopic examination of the gastrointestinal tract. Insufficient intake is linked with vegetarian and vegan diets, though there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan foods that have iron and we can guide you regarding these.

    Limited absorption is caused by conditions that affect the function of the small bowel, such as coeliac disease, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and Crohn’s disease. Excess iron loss is caused by slow and often unseen blood loss in the gastrointestinal tract. This can be from fragile blood vessels, polyps, cancer, diverticular, inflammatory bowel disease and haemorrhoids.

    iron defficiency
    Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anaemia

    The symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia are often vague and can be difficult to recognise but some common symptoms include:.

    • Feeling tired all the time
    • Feeling weak and lacking energy
    • Pale skin
    • Shortness of breath and in severe cases chest pain
    • Headache, dizziness and feeling faint
    • Cold extremities – i.e. hands and feet
    • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
    • Brittle nails
    • Lack of appetite and weight loss

    Anaemia will also adversely affect other conditions such as angina, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, making their symptoms worse. Visible blood loss may occur and can be spotted in stools and urine.

    Women with very heavy periods might be more at risk of iron deficiency anaemia as they will be losing blood during their monthly periods.

    Iron Deficiency Diagnosis and Treatment

    Diagnosis of iron deficiency anaemia
    The initial diagnosis of iron deficiency anaemia is made via a simple blood test to measure blood count and iron levels. This can be done at any time of the day and does not need to be while fasting.

    Iron deficiency anaemia treatment
    The treatment for iron deficiency anaemia is to replace iron orally or via intravenous route, while treating the underlying cause to prevent it from reoccurring.

    Doctors Who Can Treat Iron Deficiency Anaemia
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