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Iron deficiency: 90% of young Indian women struggle with nutritional deficiencies, experts warn | health news


Iron deficiency is a widespread problem among young women, affecting nearly 90 percent in India, doctors said on Sunday, urging the need for timely detection of the condition.

Many women experience low iron levels without realizing it, often attributing symptoms such as fatigue and weakness to other factors.
Iron deficiency is a common nutritional deficiency that occurs when the body does not have enough iron to support its functions.

This essential mineral plays an important role in transporting oxygen throughout the body, maintaining healthy red blood cells, and supporting overall energy levels.

Without enough iron, individuals may experience fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and impaired cognitive function.

“Iron deficiency in young women is a growing concern that is often ignored. Despite efforts to promote healthy eating and supplementation, 90 percent of young women still struggle with inadequate iron levels,” said Dr Rajesh Bendre, National Technical Head and Chief Pathologist, Apollo Diagnostics, IANS. said

He said factors such as menstrual bleeding, restricted diet and over-reliance on processed foods are behind the increase in iron deficiency among women.

More doctors point out that a lack of education about iron-rich food sources and dietary requirements exacerbates the problem.

“Raising awareness of the importance of maintaining adequate iron levels and providing accessible resources for proper nutrition education is critical,” she said.

Many pregnant women also suffer from iron deficiency, which results in low hemoglobin, anemia and associated symptoms such as weakness, shortness of breath and pale skin.

“Iron deficiency is a pressing concern in many pregnant women that can have far-reaching consequences. Beyond the immediate health risks to the mother, such as anemia and fatigue, iron deficiency during pregnancy can also impair fetal development. “Inadequate iron levels in expectant mothers can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight, which can affect a child’s long-term health and cognitive development,” says Dr. Bendre.

Addressing iron deficiency in pregnant women goes beyond simply supplementing with iron pills. Specialists should educate women on the importance of regular antenatal check-ups to monitor their iron levels during pregnancy, enabling timely intervention if deficiencies occur.

“Anemia is one of the most widespread public health problems and has important health and welfare, social and economic consequences. These include reduced working hours, poor concentration and low self-esteem that lead to impaired development and, in severe cases, an increased risk of death. Pregnant patients, especially in childbirth Time. Around 50 to 60 per cent of pregnant women are iron deficient,” Dr Abhya Bhave, hematologist at Lilavati Hospital, told IANS.

The prevalence of anemia is high in our population, especially among students and marriageable age.

Iron deficiency is the main cause of anemia due to intestinal worm infestation, intestinal bleeding and period bleeding.

“Iron deficiency anemia can have malignancy in the gut including rare malignancies or malabsorption syndromes that will require a different line of treatment to prevent recurrence. Other causes of anemia include vit B12 and folic acid deficiency, poor production of bone marrow, and excessive destruction, ” said Bhave.

According to Dr. Kekin Gala, Gynecologist, Apollo Spectra Mumbai Fatigue and general weakness are often the first signs of iron deficiency.
“Paying attention to your menstrual cycle can also be important in diagnosis, as heavy periods can lead to iron depletion and subsequent deficiency. Screening tests for iron deficiency include a complete blood count (CBC) and additional tests such as serum ferritin and transferrin saturation. Iron levels in the body “Regular monitoring with this test not only provides insight into current iron status but also supports preventive efforts against more serious complications associated with untreated deficiency,” says Gala.

In addition to supplements, Gala emphasized the need to include iron-rich foods like spinach and lentils in the daily diet to help replenish iron levels naturally while improving overall nutrition.

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