An iron deficiency can develop if there is a shortage of iron in the body or when the body cannot adequately absorb it. It is a condition that leads to a drop in the count of red blood cells. There are various triggers of an iron deficiency, ranging between biological and nutritional factors. The shortage of iron impedes the transportation of oxygen to the muscles, tissues, and body parts in need of it. And, when the muscles and tissues are starved of oxygen, the person will inevitably experience fatigue and drowsiness.
Extreme tiredness is not the only symptom of an iron deficiency. Frequent headaches, heart palpitations, dizziness, paleness, shortness of breath, and hair loss are further indications of this condition.
Iron is an essential mineral. Our bodies need iron to thrive and they get it from various foods and supplements. Sometimes, even if you consume enough iron, your body can still lack it due to malabsorption. This can happen because of an illness, for example, if you have problems with your thyroid or your bowel. Also, women experiencing heavy periods tend to have low iron stores.
For instance, when a person has a stomach ulcer, retention of iron will be low, which, in its turn, causes iron deficiency anaemia. Infection and some types of medications can also prevent the body from absorbing iron as much as it should.
If an iron shortage occurs, there will be a corresponding decrease in the production of haemoglobin. As a consequence, the organism will starve of oxygen too, since haemoglobin is responsible for transporting it around the body. That is the reason why you might feel so listless and be short of breath when the iron stores in the body are low.
Iron deficiency hair loss occurs quite often, as the growth of new hair cells in the follicles is directly affected by the shortage of iron in the body. Our hair follicles contain ferritin, a protein that stores and transports iron and helps to build new hair cells. When you do not consume enough iron, your body starts taking ferritin from non-essential tissues like hair and nails and transporting it to the most important organs.
Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition that develops gradually and occurs in stages. The three stages of an iron deficiency are :
The best way to counteract an iron deficiency is to eat iron-rich foods or through iron supplements. This will help ensure that the body can maintain a proper balance between the iron intake and how the body absorbs and uses it. You should also pay attention to your vitamin consumption, especially vitamin C and B12, as it also improves the retention and absorption of iron. Foods that have a high iron content include lean red meat, brown rice, eggs, dried fruit, green vegetables, beans, nuts and fish.
Hair loss is one of the most common symptoms of an iron deficiency. If the condition is not properly treated, it can result in long-term baldness.
It is very normal to lose hair when washing, combing or brushing it. However, if you notice that you have been losing more hair recently or if your hair has become more brittle, you should check your iron level and do a complete blood count test.
The good news is – if your hair loss is caused by an iron deficiency, it can be reversed in most cases with appropriate medical treatment.
It is not a permanent condition albeit an early detection of the condition is crucial. Taking iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods are important steps to take, although the ultimate decision lies must come from your doctor or a trained medical adviser. That said, here are some essential measures to follow to regrow your hair.
Here are a few other easy ways to prevent hair loss, that everyone should follow:
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