Iron Supplements – Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency is a common condition in which the body does not have enough iron to produce haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body’s tissues. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), iron deficiency is one of the most commonly under-diagnosed and under-treated conditions.
Iron deficiency can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be nonspecific and similar to other conditions. Symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and anaemia can be caused by various health problems, making it challenging to pinpoint iron deficiency as the cause. Many people with an iron deficiency do not seek medical attention because they do not believe that their symptoms are severe or because they are unaware that a lack of iron causes their symptoms. Even when it is diagnosed, it is often not treated effectively.
Iron Deficient Anaemia
Iron-deficient anaemia is a condition that occurs when the body does not have sufficient iron to produce enough healthy red blood cells. Iron-deficient symptoms and anaemia can vary depending on the severity of the deficiency. Still, some common symptoms include fatigue, pale complexion, shortness of breath, headaches, hair loss (an extremely common complaint), low mood, dizziness and brittle nails.
Intravenous vs Oral Iron supplementation
Intravenous iron supplementation and oral iron supplementation are both used to treat iron deficiency, but there are many benefits to using IV iron over oral iron:
- IV iron is administered directly into the bloodstream, which allows for faster and more efficient absorption of iron into the body. This, coupled with the ability to give higher doses intravenously, can lead to a quicker improvement in symptoms. Typically it can replenish your iron almost immediately and normalise blood tests and symptoms within just a few weeks vs potentially months for oral iron.
- IV iron supplements do not cause gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhoea, which are common with oral iron supplementations.
- It may be more effective in specific populations, such as patients with inflammatory bowel disease, malabsorption disorders, or chronic kidney disease.
- IV iron may be more convenient for some people, such as those who have difficulty swallowing pills or struggle to stick with oral iron therapy.
IV iron can only be administered if the patient is severely iron deficient, and as such, blood tests are required. Each person’s circumstances are unique, and we will gladly consult with you and review your blood tests for free. At Effect Doctors, we tailor our treatments to each client’s needs and monitor your progress.