Iron deficiency anemia is a condition where the body does not have enough iron. Iron is important for many functions in the body, including carrying oxygen in the blood and helping the body use energy. Iron deficiency can cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue and weakness.
The body needs iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. When there is not enough iron, the body cannot make enough hemoglobin and the result is iron deficiency anemia.
The body also needs iron for myoglobin, a protein that helps muscle cells store oxygen. Myoglobin is what gives muscles their red color.
Iron is also necessary for the body to make collagen, a protein that helps wounds heal.
In addition, iron is needed for the immune system to work properly. White blood cells need iron to make enzymes that kill bacteria and other pathogens.
Iron deficiency suppresses the activity of these enzymes, which makes the body more susceptible to infection.
Iron deficiency anemia is the most common form of anemia and affects both children and adults. In the United States, it is estimated that 3.5 million people have iron deficiency anemia.
The most common cause of iron deficiency anemia is not getting enough iron in the diet. This can be due to eating a diet that is low in iron-rich foods or due to blood loss.
Certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease, can also lead to iron deficiency anemia.
Iron deficiency anemia is treated by taking iron supplements or by receiving iron injections. In severe cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary.
Eating a diet that is rich in iron-containing foods, such as lean red meat, dark leafy green vegetables, beans, and iron-fortified cereals, can help prevent iron deficiency anemia.
Iron is an essential nutrient for human health. It is a key component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood, and plays a role in many enzymes involved in energy production and metabolism. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, which can lead to fatigue, decreased work productivity and difficulty in exercise.
Recent research has shown that iron deficiency can also suppress the function of the innate immune system, which is the body’s first line of defense against infection. The innate immune system is composed of several types of cells, including neutrophils, which are the most common type of white blood cell.
Neutrophils are important for fighting bacterial infections. They do this by engulfing and destroying bacteria. However, neutrophils require iron to function properly.
Iron deficiency decreases the number and function of neutrophils. This can lead to an increased susceptibility to infection. In addition, iron deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of developing sepsis, a potentially fatal condition caused by infection.
Iron is found in food sources such as red meat, poultry, fish, beans, and fortified foods. It is important to include these foods in the diet or to take a supplement if iron levels are low.