Iron in the Blood
By: Koral Alvord
Nearly two centuries after the discovery of Iron in the blood Dr. James B. Herrick discovered what we call Sickle Cell Anemia or Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). He found this through studying a young Walter Clement Noel who came to Dr. Herrick complaining of episodes of pain and several other symptoms attributed with anemia: the deficiency of healthy red blood cells which are needed to carry oxygen to body tissues.
Common symptoms associated with anemia are tiredness or fatigue, pale skin, vertigo, shortness of breath, tightness or pain in the chest, cold hands and feet, and oftentimes headaches. Symptoms may at first be hard to notice or easy to miss but as anemia progressively worsens so then do the symptoms that accompany it. Another symptom of anemia that is looked for by doctors is low hemoglobin levels in the blood.
Hemoglobin; an iron-rich protein that gives blood its distinctive red color, also enables the carrying of oxygen by way of red blood cells throughout the body (Also allows the carrying of carbon dioxide to the lungs to be exhaled from the body). One of the most common reasons for anemia is low levels of iron which attributes to low levels of hemoglobin in the blood, this causes a lack of healthy red blood cells in the body. Intriguingly a common symptom of Iron-Deficiency Anemia is a craving for non-nutritious substances; these include ice, dirt, or starch.
Iron Deficiency Anemia is very common in pregnant women; in turn, this can lead to many complications with the pregnancy including preterm labor and low birth weights in babies.
Along with either obtaining an iron rich diet or taking iron supplements to raise iron levels in the body it is also important to ensure you are receiving plenty of Vitamin C to promote iron absorption into the body and blood.
“Anemia.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Aug. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20351360.
“Iron Deficiency Anemia.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Oct. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355034.
Winter, William P. “A Brief History of Sickle Cell Disease.” A Brief History of Sickle Cell Disease, www.sicklecell.howard.edu/ABriefHistoryofSickleCellDisease.htm.