011 482-3010
How to Tell If You Have an Iron Deficiency and What to Do About It

How to Tell If You Have an Iron Deficiency and What to Do About It

 

Overview


Iron deficiency
is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. It is especially prevalent in pregnant women, infants, and young children.

Symptoms can include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor to determine if you have an iron deficiency and, if so, to receive appropriate treatment.

Iron deficiency is a common problem, but it can be easily treated.

In this article we discover more about iron deficiency and how to prevent it.

 

What is Iron?

 

Iron is a mineral that the body needs to make red blood cells.

Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Without enough iron, the body can’t make enough red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.

Iron deficiency can cause a number of problems, such as fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and a poor appetite.

 

 

What is Iron Deficiency?

 

Iron deficiency, also known as anemia, is a common medical condition that occurs when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells.

Iron is a mineral that helps your body make red blood cells.

If you have iron deficiency, you may feel tired and weak. You may also have shortness of breath, a fast heart rate, or cold hands and feet.

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. It is especially common in women and children.

Children who are iron deficient may have problems learning and paying attention in school. 

There are several ways to treat iron deficiency, including taking iron supplements, eating iron-rich foods, and getting more iron from your diet.

If you think you may have iron deficiency, talk to your doctor to get the appropriate treatment for it.

Children who are iron deficient may have problems learning and paying attention in school. 

 

What are the Symptoms of Iron Deficiency?

 

According to the World Health Organisation, it is estimated that there are 2 billion people who have anemia due to iron deficiency.

The most common symptoms of iron deficiency are:

  • Extreme fatigue, weakness, and a lack of energy
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Inflammation or sore tongue
  • Brittle Nails
  • Fast heart rate
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia

 

What Causes Iron Deficiency?

 

Iron deficiency can be caused by a number of factors, including:

– Not getting enough iron in your diet
– Not absorbing enough iron from your food
– Loss of blood, either through heavy periods or bleeding ulcers
– Increased need for iron, such as during pregnancy or growth spurts in children
– Taking certain medications, such as aspirin or other blood thinners

If you think you might have an iron deficiency, it is important to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

 

iron deficiency causes - How to Tell If You Have an Iron Deficiency and What to Do About It

 

 How is Iron Deficiency Diagnosed?

If you think you may be deficient in iron, your doctor can perform a blood test to check your levels. The test will measure the amount of hemoglobin in your blood.

Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen.

The test will also check for anemia, which is a condition caused by low levels of red blood cells. If you are diagnosed with iron deficiency, your doctor may prescribe iron supplements.

You will also need to make changes to your diet to ensure you are getting enough iron.

 

What is the treatment for iron deficiency?


If you are diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, your doctor may prescribe iron supplements.

These supplements can help increase your iron levels and help your symptoms subside. Your doctor may also recommend that you make changes to your diet.

There are two types of iron in food: heme and non-heme.

Heme iron is found in meat, poultry, and fish. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods and supplements.

Fortunately, there are many foods that are high in iron, making it easy to include this nutrient in our diets.

Some excellent sources of iron include:

  • Red meat
  • Liver & kidneys
  • Poultry
  • Beans
  • Dark green vegetables
  • Dried fruit
  • Peas
  • Seafood such as tuna, salmon, and trout
  • Cereal
  • Bread

It’s also a good idea to pair vitamin C-rich foods with iron-rich foods, as vitamin C helps our bodies better absorb the mineral.

Vitamin C-rich foods:

  • Orange juice
  • Broccoli
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Melons
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Tomatoes 

Foods that are low in iron include:

  • All grains
  • Legumes
  • Seeds
  • Nuts

iron rich foods - How to Tell If You Have an Iron Deficiency and What to Do About It

 

Lifestyle Changes for Iron Deficiency:

 

You can prevent an iron deficiency by making a few lifestyle changes:

1.  Eat iron-rich foods.
Iron is found in foods like red meat, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, and fortified cereals.

2. Drink plenty of fluids.
Dehydration can lead to an iron deficiency. Drink plenty of water and other fluids like milk and juice.

3. Avoid drinking tea and coffee with meals.
Tea and coffee can inhibit the absorption of iron from food. Drink them between meals instead.

4.  Exercise
One of the best lifestyles changes you can make to address iron deficiency is to exercise. Exercise is important for many reasons, including getting enough iron.

When you exercise, your body produces more red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout your body.

The more red blood cells you have, the more oxygen your body can deliver, which is important for preventing and treating iron deficiency.

Not only does exercise help produce more red blood cells, but it also helps your body absorb iron from food. When you exercise, your body uses more energy.

5.  Supplements
First, it is important to talk to your doctor about taking an iron supplement. This can help to improve your overall iron levels and help to reduce your symptoms.

iron deficiency exercise - How to Tell If You Have an Iron Deficiency and What to Do About It

 

Risk Factors

 

The following group of people may have a higher risk of developing iron deficiency anemia:

Vegetarians:
Individuals who do not eat meat may have an increased risk of iron deficiency anemia.  These individuals should get their iron intake from other iron-rich foods.

Children or Infants:
Babies born with a lower birth weight and not getting sufficient iron from breastmilk or formula, might be at risk for iron deficiency. 

Especially during growth spurts, children need extra iron.  Children who do not eat a healthy diet may be at risk of anemia.

Women:
Women in general are a greater risk for iron deficiency anemia because of menstruation and losing blood during that time.

Blood Donors:
People who donate blood on a regular basis may have an increased risk of iron deficiency.

iron deficiency infographic - How to Tell If You Have an Iron Deficiency and What to Do About It

 

Conclusion

 

With so many people experiencing iron deficiency, it is important that we learn what foods are high in iron and how to prepare them in a way that makes absorption easier.

Additionally, those with anemia should supplement their diet with an iron supplement to ensure they are getting the recommended daily amount of iron.

By following these simple tips, you can help reduce the risk of iron deficiency and its related health concerns.

If you think you might be low in iron, talk to your doctor about how to get more of this important mineral.

Dr. Schneider is located at the Millpark Hospital, Parktown, Johannesburg.

Services offered include consultation, and endoscopy procedures, including gastroscopy, colonoscopy and video capsule endoscopy.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of abdominal pain in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or book your consultation today.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

[39350 _i=”0″ _address=”2.0.0.0″ /]
Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect

Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect

What is Gastroscopy

 

Gastroscopy is a procedure that takes a very close look at your digestive system, mainly your stomach.

Gastroscopy is often performed as a precursor to a colorectal surgery.

Gastroscopy is considered a minimally invasive procedure, and is performed via a small camera, called a video endoscope, that is inserted into a small incision in the abdomen.

A gastroscope is a flexible tube with a small fixture at the end and a video camera. The images from the video camera are sent to the screen.

With gastroscopy, the physicians are able to diagnose a wide range of conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, ulcers and celiac disease to name a few.

Let’s look into the what, how and when of having a gastroscopy done.

 


What Happens During a Gastroscopy?

 

 Gastroscopes are small telescopes that allows your doctor to view the insides of the body.

These devices range in size and shape, but most commonly fit in the colon, intestines and stomach for an inspection of their condition.

Gastroscopies are performed regularly in clinical settings to monitor patients with gastrointestinal defects or disease.

The procedure can be done with either sedation or require general anaesthesia- the anaesthesia is selected based on what areas of the digestive system need examination.

Once confirmed, a gastroenterologist will prepare your body for examination by swallowing small amounts of barium liquid to outline structures within your digestive tract.

A tube is then passed down this oesophagus into your stomach – this tube allows doctors to see structures on either side of it as medical providers apply pressure with various tools to look for abnormalities.

 

Why Should I Get a Gastroscopy?

 

Gastroscopy (examination of the stomach) can help confirm or rule out the presence of diseases such as:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
  • Ulcers
  • Inflammation, or swelling
  • Precancerous abnormalities such as Barrett’s oesophagus
  • Celiac disease
  • Strictures or narrowing of the oesophagus
  • Blockages

Should you have any of the following symptoms, a gastroscopy can be performed:

  • Chronic or recurrent heartburn, nausea, or vomiting
  • Nausea for a longer time
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Black bowel movements or blood in your bowel movements
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason
  • Suspicion of gastric ulcer
  • Suspected cancer of the oesophagus or stomach
  • Examination after gastric surgery 

gastrocscopy endoscope - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect


Your Preparation Before a Gastroscopy

One of the biggest mistakes that patients make is not to prepare for their Procedure.

There are lots of things you need to do, but also things you need to think about before the procedure.

Following the advice of your Gastroscopy involves precautions and preparations, such as Haemostasis (Control of bleeding), Medications (Side effects), Questions you must ask and answers your doctor should give.

To ensure a more pleasant experience, some tips for better preparation include:

  • Get some rest before procedure – It is very important that you get some sleep prior to the Procedure.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol just before procedure – Restricting fluids can contribute to swelling in throat, which can cause discomfort during the process. Follow your doctor’s advice.

gastroscopy procedure - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect

 

How Long Does Gastroscopy Take

Gastroscopy can take from 15 mins to an hour. For a small number of patients, it can take a little longer if various tests are performed during the procedure.

There will be a short discussion with the doctor who performs the procedure before going into surgery, which might take place at a day surgery unit in your local hospital or outpatient suite.

When it is finished you recover with lunch and some time for yourself in general, if you have been given medication before the procedure this wears off approximately 4-6 hours after it is administered.

Although most patients feel quite normal after being discharged.

 

What Happens After Your Gastroscopy?

What can I eat or drink?
If you have had throat spray for your procedure, it will take 30 minutes for your swallowing to return to normal.

After this time, you may have a cool drink – you are at risk of burning yourself with a hot drink. You may eat and drink normally after this time.

Your throat may feel a bit sore. If you have had sedation, you may eat and drink when you feel safe to do so.

When can I go back to work?
This depend whether you have had sedation or throat spray during your procedure.

We advise that you refrain from work for 24 hours if you have had sedation.

You must not operate machinery and your car insurance will not cover you to drive during this time. If you have had throat spray you may return to work when you feel safe to do so.

Will I be told any results after the procedure?
The endoscopist will speak to you after the procedure and explain any results to you. We will discuss the follow-up plan of care.

You will possibly be given a copy of your endoscopy report and a patient care report to explain any findings and give you advice for the next 24 hours.

gastroscopy risks procedure - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect

  

Risks of the Procedure

 

Many people are afraid of the prospect of a risk of gastroscopy.

The reason is because they are afraid of being diagnosed with something unpleasant or being unable to swallow.

There are several risks associated with undergoing a gastroscopy.

One potential problem that patients could face is an allergic reaction during the procedure.

If you’re allergic to latex or iodine, then there’s a risk that you could suffer an allergic reaction following your examination.

Importantly, most Doctors uses smooth rather than rough instruments so it should reduce the risk of tissue damage under normal circumstances.

The biggest danger involved in having gastroscopy done involves having something go wrong during the procedure itself which can lead to internal bleeding and may require immediate medical intervention.

The risks associated with a gastroscopy are not too high, but it is important for anyone who is going to have a gastroscopy to be aware of the risks and make sure they are communicated with their physician.

 

gastroscopy what it is how it works - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect

 

Conclusion

A healthy lifestyle is easier than all the medical surgeries and remedies in the world.

There are many ways to take control of your digestive system, which can cure all stomach ailments.

Diet, exercise, and stress management are the three keys to better digestion along with other essential elements like getting enough sleep, not smoking, etc.
The best way to deal with any health condition is by following simple lifestyle changes.

The body has an amazing capacity for self-healing; once you begin taking back control of your daily life, your symptoms will begin clearing up within a few weeks after surgery.

With no cure currently available, medications are the only treatment available to prevent complications from the disease.

People with Ulcerative Colitis can have complications, such as colon cancer or polyps, which can need to be removed.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of Ulcerative Colitis conditions in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or visit www.gidocjhb.co.za and book your consultation today.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

[39350 _i=”0″ _address=”2.0.0.0″ /]
Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

GIDOCJHB is based at Milpark hospital in Johannesburg.

We offer diagnosis and treatment for individuals suffering from diseases of the esophagus, bowel, liver, and pancreas.

We take care in providing our patients with high-quality care of endoscopic procedures from diagnosis to treatment, and we are always seeking to grow our knowledge of industry equipment and advances in the field to provide you with the best care possible.

 

What Is An Upper Endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a medical procedure that allows a gastroenterologist to view the inside of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

It involves using a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope that has a tiny camera and light installed, which allows to view images on a video monitor.

 

endoscopy reason for treatment - Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

Why is Upper Endoscopy Done?

Gastroenterologists can recommend an endoscopy to be scheduled for 3 main reasons. Usually, its to diagnose symptoms, monitor illnesses, or treatment of disease.

Endoscopies are very effective for screening and preventing cancer as they can be used to obtain small tissue samples to observe between benign and malignant (cancerous) tissues.

Its recommended to discuss why you need to undergo an endoscopy beforehand, so you also understand the importance, goals, and expectations for the procedure.

 

What Symptoms Does Endoscopy Help To Evaluate?

Aside from heartburn, endoscopy may also be used for:

  • Inflammation, ulcers, and tumors
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Bleeding
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach bleeding

Upper endoscopy can be more accurate than X-rays or other imaging for detecting abnormal growths and for examining the inside of the upper digestive system.

 preparing for endoscopy - Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

How do you Prepare for Endoscopy?

Before

  • A gastroenterologist will guide you step by step on what pre-measures to take and abide by.
  • You may be asked to sign a form that gives you consent and permission for the procedure.
  • If you take any medications it’s recommended to mention this before your prep starts.
  • You will be asked to not drink or eat anything on the day of your test.
  • If you have a history of any bleeding disorders, you should let your GI doctor know.
  • You may be asked to take a laxative and enema or have to drink a certain fluid to help clean out your bowels.

During

  • You will be asked to remove clothing, jewelry, or any objects that can obstruct the procedure, and change into something more comfortable and loose, such as a gown
  • You won’t feel any discomfort throughout your procedure as you will be sedated
  • Tissue samples may be collected for a biopsy to test for diseases and other conditions or cancers affecting the digestive system.
  • After numbing your throat and once you feel relaxed after your sedative, a thin flexible tube will be inserted in your mouth and throat until it reaches your duodenum
  • Once your gastroenterologist is satisfied he or she has performed the necessary procedure, the tube will be taken out of your mouth.

After

  • Following your procedure, you will be observed. Once you are alert, stable, and breathing fine again, you can be discharged.
  • You should have someone drive you home afterward as you’ll still be feeling drowsy.
  • If you feel gassy or pain in your throat for a few days after your discharge, this is normal.
  • You can return to your normal activities and diet the next day unless otherwise instructed
  • If you experience any chills or fever, swelling, bleeding, black or bloody stools, trouble swallowing or if your chest pain gets worse, contact your gastroenterologist immediately.

Infographic Endoscopy JHB - Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

Risks and Side Effects

Endoscopy is generally regarded as a safe procedure, however, as with any procedure, there are risks involved and potential complications, such as:

  • Minor internal bleeding
  • Cramping and bloating
  • Infection
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting blood
  • Complications related to preexisting conditions

endoscopy questions - Endoscopy Johannesburg: All You Need to Know

Endoscopy Frequently Asked Questions

Can I eat the day before my procedure?

General instructions are to not eat any solids for at least 8 hours before your procedure. Clear liquids are allowed only up until 4 hours prior. Also, no chewing gum the day before or on.


Should I brush my teeth on the day of my procedure?

Yes, please do.

Can I drink alcoholic beverages the day before and the day of my procedure?

Please refrain from drinking any alcohol for at least 48 hours before your procedure. Alcohol can cause dehydration and some wines can thin your blood, which can also make your procedure riskier.

Can I go back to work after the procedure?

It’s recommended to have 24 hours rest at home away from any stressful, physical, or mental activities to allow for the sedation or pain reliever to wear off.

What should I bring with me when I come for my procedure?

On the day of your procedure, please bring the following:

  • Name and contact details of a family member or friend who will be driving you home
  • Name and contact details of your General Practitioner
  • Medical aid card or number
  • Health history and a list of current medications

How long will the procedure take?

An endoscopy procedure usually takes between 45 to 90 minutes.

Can I have chicken soup?

No noodles, chicken, or vegetables should be eaten at least 8 hours before your procedure, however, you can have broth.

When can I get the test results?

Your gastroenterologist will first study your results and then it will be explained to you before you leave. If a biopsy was taken during the procedure, it will be sent to the lab for further testing, and your GI doctor will discuss these further results with you once received.

What if I need to cancel my procedure?

If you need to cancel or postpone your procedure for any reason, please call us to reschedule. 

What if I am on an antibiotic?

This should not interfere with your procedure. Please notify your GI beforehand to confirm.

Where is the procedure done?

An endoscopy is performed in a private procedure room.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.