Definition of "iron deficiency anemia."
It is a disorder in which the quantity of the body's iron is below recommended levels.
Iron deficiency anemia results in low red blood cell count and a low hemoglobin level.
Hemoglobin is essential to carry oxygen to the cells.
Factors that may increase the risk of iron deficiency anemia.
Insufficient iron in the diet.
Rapid growth stages in infants and children.
Impaired gastrointestinal absorption (chronic diarrhea, gastrectomy, malabsorption syndrome, etc.)
Excessive blood loss (heavy mensis, bleeding from trauma, gastrointestinal bleeding, etc.).
Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia.
Paleness of skin.
Inflammation and soreness of mouth and tongue.
Increased sensitivity to cold.
Brittle fingernails and hair.
Desire to eat unusual substances.
Measures to prevent or control iron deficiency.
Eat a well-balanced diet. (Provide "Daily Food Guide" handout.)
Eat foods rich in iron, including red meats, leafy vegetables, eggs, whole-grain breads and cereals, dried fruit, potatoes, and berries.
Consume fruit and fruit juices, which are high in ascorbic acid, to help the body absorb iron.
Plan frequent rest periods.
Obtain prompt treatment for infections.
Have stools checked for occult blood.
Keep follow-up appointments and continue prescribed medication.
Perform good oral hygiene.
Follow safety precautions because of possible dizziness:
Ask for help when walking.
Change positions slowly.
Because wounds may heal poorly, provide good skin care.
Factors important when taking oral iron supplements.
Stools are dark green or black.
Milk and antacids interfere with absorption.
Iron should be taken on an empty stomach unless gastrointestinal upset occurs. Iron can be taken with meals, although absorption is decreased.
Side effects should be reported to the physician. They include nausea, constipation, and diarrhea.
Frequent oral hygiene is important if taking ferrous sulfate because deposits may form on teeth.
Iron supplements should be continued at least six months after hemoglobin levels are normal.
Possible complications of iron deficiency anemia.