. Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia. Women of child bearing age are at high risk for iron deficiency anemia due to the loss of blood during their menstrual cycle. Twenty percent of women and fifty percent of pregnant women are iron deficient. Pregnant and breast feeding women need extra iron to meet the demands of the child they are providing for (Medline Plus, 2009).
Iron is absorbed from the diet and recycled from old blood cells. Iron is used to form hemoglobin, which is the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen. If the body is deficient in iron it cannot transport oxygen efficiently, which causes the whole body to function inefficiently because the body needs oxygen to function. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, brittle nails, pale skin, irritability, sore tongue, unusual food cravings, and headaches. Blood loss, poor absorption of iron, and low levels of iron in the diet are all causes of iron deficiency (Medline Plus, 2009). Apparently, iron deficiency can even be a result of blood loss due to bed bugs. An article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal describes a man in his 60s that did not control his bed bug infestation and was repeatedly readmitted to the hospital. Once the bed bugs in the apartment were exterminated the patient recovered. The article does state that there is a possibility that the gentleman's diet may have also contributed to the patients iron deficiency anemia (Pritchard and Hwang, 2009). Iron supplements may be given to increase iron levels. Iron is also found in eggs, fish, legumes, meat, and liver (Medline Plus, 2009).
Medline Plus. (2009). Iron deficiency anemia. A.D.A.M. ,Inc. Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000584.htm
Pritchard, J. and Hwang, S. (2009). Severe anemia from bedbugs. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 181. 287-288.