Iron is an important element that is present in the blood of human beings. It plays a vital role in transportation of oxygen to various parts of the body. Its regulation, however, is extremely important because both deficient and excess quantities of iron in the blood have a bad effect on an individual’s health. Iron is absorbed in the body through the digestive system. A failure to absorb iron or insufficient absorption of iron in the diet would cause iron deficiency. Low levels of iron may cause a person to suffer from symptoms such as low energy levels, headaches and shortness of breath. This condition is known as iron deficiency anemia. High levels of iron in the blood could result in iron toxicity. High iron count levels that are less than toxic levels may cause symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Because of the potential toxicity of iron, its regulation is highly important.
Iron requirements for adults are usually the same throughout the person’s life. The only group of people who require a relatively higher level of iron intake is the group consisting of menstruating women. This is because these women tend to lose a small quantity of blood every month as part of the normal process of the reproductive system which cycles through various phases culminating in menstrual blood loss. This puts such women at a risk of suffering from deficient iron levels in their blood. Therefore, a healthy woman who is fertile and has a monthly period should consume a slightly higher quantity of iron. During pregnancy, the requirement of iron for the mother changes through the various phases of the cycle. It is therefore necessary to contact your health care provider in order to understand what your needs are.
In elderly people, iron deficiency may occur due to a gradual reduction in the iron absorption capability during digestion. This may be symptomatic of a slowly progressing digestive condition. Any person who has suffered from an injury or is suffering from a condition where they regularly bleed may be at risk of developing iron deficiency because iron is lost during bleeding and may only be replaced in the system when the iron is ingested during eating. Iron deficiency may also occur in a person who is donating blood because when the body regenerates blood, it does so without iron in it. This iron needs to be replaced from an external source and is therefore reduced in the body until the difference is covered up by consuming more iron.
Submitted by M H on May 27, 2010 at 06:03