Iron is an important ingredient of haemoglobin. A shortage, or deficiency, of iron in the body causes the bone marrow to make small red blood cells that don’t contain enough haemoglobin. These red blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen to the organs and tissues of the body.
In developing countries such as the Kenya, iron deficiency usually happens when there is not enough iron in the diet, or if the iron in the diet is not absorbed properly. It can also occur if too much iron is lost through blood loss.
Pregnancy can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia because the growing baby needs iron and takes its supply from its mother. Iron deficiency is more likely to develop during pregnancy in women whose diet does not contain plenty of iron.
Premature babies and adolescents need extra iron for their growth spurts and there may not be enough in their diet.
Treatment for Iron Deficiency Anemia
Your doctor will first try to work out why you are deficient in iron. If you are pregnant or a growing teenager, your doctor may recommend a course of iron supplements (such as ferrous sulphate tablets). Always ask your doctor for advice and read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine.
The aim of a course of tablets is to make up for the shortage of iron and then build up your body’s stores of iron to the normal level. This usually involves taking tablets three times a day for up to six months. If your doctor suspects another problem, such as blood loss, you may need treatment for this as well as a course of iron tablets.
Iron supplements can have side-effects. These include constipation, diarrhoea, an upset stomach or feeling sick. They can also cause faeces to turn black. These side-effects can be off-putting, but they may be reduced by taking the tablets after meals.
People who do not like to swallow pills can consider using Saferon as it comes as a chewable tablet, and tastes pleasant