Anemia means that the blood does not have enough red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. There are many types of anemia, and iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common, this condition occurs when the body does not have enough iron to make red blood cells.
What is the relationship between iron and red blood cells? In every red blood cell there is a protein called hemoglobin which carries oxygen to every cell in your body. Oxygen is an important source of energy for every cell.
Iron is a part of hemoglobin. Most of the iron in the body is found in hemoglobin (and a similar protein in muscle called myoglobin).
Iron enters our bodies from food and leaves the body especially when we bleed. Bleeding causes loss of red blood cells and lots of iron. That's why teenage girls are very susceptible to iron deficiency anemia: they have started having monthly menstrual bleeding. Every month they lose blood and iron. If a teenage girl doesn't eat enough iron-rich foods, she will gradually experience iron deficiency.
Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are usually unclear unless the problem is severe or long-lasting. If that's the case, symptoms may include pale skin, fatigue, dizziness, mild headaches, headaches or ringing in the ears. This condition is diagnosed with a blood test.
Iron deficiency anemia is usually treated with iron supplements, taken for several months. The doctor will carry out further blood tests to make sure the anemia has gone or at least improved.
Iron is best absorbed when given between meals. Take iron supplements in the middle of the morning, between breakfast and lunch, or in the afternoon, between lunch and dinner.
Vitamin C makes it easier for the body to absorb iron. But calcium makes it harder, this supplement should not be taken with milk. This supplement might work well if taken with foods or drinks that are high in vitamin C such as fruits, vegetables and orange juice.
Do not take iron supplements more than the recommended dose, because high doses can be dangerous. Some people are prone to having excess iron.
You should also try to increase the amount of iron-rich foods in your diet. These foods include:
- lean meat, poultry, and fish
- iron-fortified cereals, bread and pasta
- dried fruits (apricots, raisins, prunes)
- green leafy vegetables (spinach, collard greens, kale)
- cereals (brown rice, oats, bran muffins)
- beans, peas and beans
Teenage girls who have started menstruating can help prevent iron deficiency anemia by taking a multivitamin with iron. The recommended daily allowance for iron consumption is eight milligrams (mg) per day for women aged 9 to 13 years and 15 mg per day for women aged 14 to 18 years.
Share this article:
- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in a new window)
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in a new window)
- Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in a new window)
- Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in a new window)
- Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in a new window)
- Click to share on new Line (Opens in a new window)
Reviewed date: January 20, 2017 | Last Edited: January 20, 2017
Iron deficiency in teenage girls is easily treated. http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/life/2014/12/09/iron-deficiency-teenage-girls-easily-treated/19934561/. Accessed 08/08/2015.