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Management of Disorders of Iron Metabolism

Management of disorders of iron metabolism

  • Overview

    Iron is a mineral that plays many important roles in the body. It forms part of all cells and carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, and helps the muscles store and use oxygen. Iron is also part of many enzymes that help the body digest food.

    When there is an iron deficiency, many parts of the body is affected. Iron deficiency during pregnancy increases the risk of premature births, as well as delaying the normal infant mental function.

    Adults who have a lack of iron in their bodies suffer from fatigue that impairs their ability to perform physical work. In teenagers, iron deficiency may cause memory and mental problems.

  • Iron deficiency categories

    Iron deficiency have two main categories: Increased iron needs and decreased iron absorption.

    • Increased iron needs
      • Rapid growth – Infants and toddlers require more iron than older children, and sometimes it may be hard for them to get enough iron from their normal diet.
      • Pregnancy – Women who are pregnant have an increased need for iron and are required to take iron supplements.
      • Blood loss – Because iron is in our blood, when blood is lost iron is also lost and will need to be replaced. Increased blood loss can occur with heavy menstrual periods, frequent blood donation, as well as with some stomach and intestinal conditions
    • Decreased iron absorption
      • Iron from meat, poultry, and fish is absorbed three times more efficiently than iron from plants.
      • The amount of iron absorbed from plant depend on the type of foods eaten in the same meal.
      • Foods containing meat, poultry, and fish enhances iron absorption from foods that contain non- fortified cereals and spinach.
      • Foods containing vitamin C also enhance iron absorption.
      • Vegetarian diets are low in iron, but careful meal planning can help increase the amount of iron absorbed.
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Haematological Diseases