Iron deficiency is a common issue in Australia, with an estimated one in three Australians being deficient in iron. Iron is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in the body, including the production of red blood cells and the transportation of oxygen. It can occur due to a range of factors, including poor diet, blood loss, and pregnancy. Symptoms of iron deficiency can include fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. If left untreated, iron deficiency can lead to more severe health issues, including anemia.
In Australia, iron deficiency is most common in women, with an estimated one in four women being impacted. This is due to factors such as menstruation, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, which can all increase the body’s need for iron. However, it can also affect men, with an estimated one in ten Australian men being deficient in iron.
This condition can be treated with supplements or dietary changes. However, in some cases, iron infusions may be necessary. Iron infusions involve the intravenous delivery of iron directly into the bloodstream. This method of delivery can be more effective than oral supplements for some patients, particularly those with severe deficiency or those who are unable to tolerate oral supplements.
Iron infusions are typically done in a medical clinic setting or in a hospital under medical supervision and require a prescription from a doctor. The infusion process can take up to 1 hour per session, and some patients may need multiple infusions to address their iron deficiency fully. While iron infusions are generally safe, they can have side effects, including nausea, headache, iron skin / soft tissue staining and allergic reactions.
If you suspect you may be iron deficient, it is important to speak with your doctor about your options for treatment.
Australian Red Cross Lifeblood. (2021). Iron Deficiency
HealthDirect. (2021). Iron Deficiency
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. (2021). Iron Deficiency