Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is the most common known form of nutritional disorder in the world, iron deficiency results in anemia because iron is necessary to make hemoglobin, the key molecule in red blood cells responsible for the transport of oxygen. In iron deficiency anemia, the red cells appear abnormal and are unusually small (microcytic) and pale (hypochromic). The pallor of the red cells reflects their low hemoglobin content. The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia is highest in children and women of childbearing age, especially pregnant women. In these women, iron deficiency increases the risk for a premature delivery and delivery of a low birth-weight baby. In children, iron deficiency causes developmental delays, behavioral disturbances, failure to thrive (grow) and increased infections. Treatment is with iron supplements. Ferrous gluconate is a good choice as it is well absorbed and does not usually cause stomach reactions.