Iron Deficiency Anemia In Women: Know The Risk Factors And Why You Shouldn't Ignore This Condition
Anemia is a condition in which there is an insufficient haemoglobin in the blood. Read here to know how women can prevent this condition and control the consequences linked with it.
A diet with low levels of iron can increase the risk of anemia
- Anemia can increase the risks of several diseases
- Iron-rich diet is essential to control the risk of anemia
- Anemia can lea to dizziness, tiredness and shortness of breath
Tiredness, paleness, shortness of breath, frequent headaches and dizziness are common signs of Anemia. It is a condition that affects a large nuber of women these day. According to the National Family Health Survey 2019-20, around 14 of Indian states and UTs have 50% of women suffering from anemia. In this condition, a person has an insufficient number of Red Blood Cells (RBC) or quantity of Haemoglobin, which reduces the capacity of the blood to carry oxygen. Anemia can cause serious medical conditions if care is not taken. Normal haemoglobin for women is 12 gram per decilitre (g/dlL) and for men it is 13 g/dL. Women, children and people with chronic diseases are more likely to have Anemia. The commonest form of anemia found in women is Iron Deficiency Anemia. This condition is common in women due to various reasons, which may exist together or otherwise.
Common factors leading to anemia in women
- All women lose a certain amount of blood during menses (30-50 ml). This may be more in cases where women are suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding due to various causes
- Hormonal imbalance,fibroids of the uterus, various cancers of the genital tract, cysts etc., may be responsible for the same
- Bleeding caused by IUDs which is not reported
- Faulty diet is also a cause of anemia in India. Most women do not pay enough attention to their diet which has insufficient iron content
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding also cause a tremendous drain on women's iron reserves. Hence, more number of pregnancies, prolonged breastfeeding, lack of knowledge and availability of contraceptive options can lead to iron deficiency
- Caffeinated drinks and certain medication
- Digestive system problems interfering with the absorption of iron
How to tackle this condition effectively?
Anemia in women needs to be tackled on various fronts. Improving women's education, screening among women, introducing nutritional counselling, distribution of iron/B complex pills and implementing ground level changes are some of the vital interventions needed to reduce India's anemia burden. Here are things you can do.
- Control or stop blood loss due to heavy bleeding during menses, bleeding caused by IUDs. This requires consultation and treatment with the Gynaecologist. Many of these problems can be treated effectively
- Improvement in specific aspects of diet under doctor's or dietician's supervision is a must
- Regular health checks
- Registering yourself at the hospital as early as possible during pregnancy helps in the assessment and provision of appropriate iron and folate supplements
- Educating women about contraceptive and family planning options. This limits the number of pregnancies, loss of blood during delivery and closely spaced pregnancies
If you have any of the common symptoms of anemia like tiredness, fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, please consult your healthcare provider at the earliest. Regular pelvic sonography and cancer screening tests may help in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of conditions.
(Dr. Manjiri Mehta is a Gynaecologist at Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi & Dr. Sushma Tomar is a Consultant-Obstetrics &Gynaecology at Fortis Hospital Kalyan)
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