Iron Infusion Symptoms and Treatment
Are you feeling tired, lethargic with low energy? You could be low in iron, also known as iron deficiency.
Do you know that iron can be replenished rapidly through your vein, which provides a fast and effective way of treating iron deficiency? The infusion is done with an iron solution known as Ferinject in our clinics in Brisbane and Logan
Patient’s with low iron may experience the following:
- Dizziness / lightheadedness
- Looking pale
- Hair loss or hair thinning
- Brittle or grooved nails
- Weakened immune system
- Restless leg syndrome
- Eating disorder (compulsive eating)
- Painful condition of the mucous membrane covering the tongue, throat and the gullet (Plummer-Vinson syndrome).
- Persistent untreated iron deficiency may progress to low blood count (anaemia) and worsening of your tiredness and other physical symptoms as mentioned.
What is Iron?
Iron is a chemical element and it is the most common element on Earth.
Iron is also present in all cells in the human body. It is very important in maintaining many body functions, including the production of hemoglobin, the molecule in your blood that carries oxygen. Iron is also necessary to maintain healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails.
Iron from the food you eat is absorbed into the body by the cells that line the gut; the body only absorbs a small fraction of the iron you ingest. The iron is then released into the blood stream, where a protein called transferrin attaches to it and delivers the iron to the liver. Iron is stored in the liver as ferritin and released as needed to make new red blood cells in the bone marrow.
When red blood cells are no longer able to function (after about 120 days in circulation), they are re-absorbed by the spleen. Iron from these old cells can also be recycled by the body.
Too little iron can interfere with these vital body functions and lead to sickness.
Unfortunately iron deficiency is rather common in Australia, especially in women, infants and the elderly.
Who is at risk of being iron deficient?
- Women – blood loss due to heavy periods, pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Vegetarians, vegans and people whose diets do not include iron-rich foods
- People with gastrointestinal diseases such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel diseases, who cannot absorb iron.
- People with peptic ulcer disease
- People who have undergone surgical weight loss (bariatric) procedures, especially gastric bypass operations
Other less common causes of iron deficiency include:
- Blood loss from the gastrointestinal tract due to chronic inflammation, abnormal blood vessel in the gut or cancer in the gut.
- Intravascular hemolysis, a condition in which red blood cells break down in the blood stream, releasing iron that is then lost in the urine. This can occur in damaged heart valves and other blood conditions.
Intravenous Iron Infusion
Treatment of iron deficiency involves taking iron rich food and oral iron supplements.
However, not everyone can tolerate oral iron supplement. It is not uncommon that oral iron supplement give unpleasant side effects such as constipation or nausea. Occasionally the iron deficiency is so severe, that iron infusion is the only practical solution.
Iron infusion (with Ferinject) is a quick and effective way of delivering iron directly to you, through your vein. Most patients report improvement in their symptoms after the infusion, within a few weeks.
If you feel tired, it is important to consult us at Top Health Doctors. Tiredness has many causes and it is important for you to be thoroughly investigated. If indeed you are found to be low in iron, iron infusion may be the right path for you to recovery.
The first consultation is for us to review your medical condition, and if appropriate, consent you for an iron infusion.