Vifor Pharma shares the symptoms that could spell trouble. By Summer Lee
A recent study by Vifor Pharma, a Swiss pharmaceutical company specialising in iron therapy, unveiled some surprising results – almost 50 per cent of women in Singapore could be iron deficient! The survey, which quizzed 600 local female runners, also revealed that these ladies were not aware of their condition. This could mean that many more women could be lacking the mineral without knowing it.
According to Dr Yong Tze Tein, a Senior Consultant at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Singapore General Hospital, women are more likely to be affected as there are more instances where we are at greater risk. For example, during pregnancy, or if we experience heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB), which one in 10 women suffer from. Furthermore, it can be difficult to tell if one has HMB as we are our own reference point. HMB is the most commonly presented cause when it comes to iron deficiency, and it may even lead to anemia if left untreated.
The key to detecting iron deficiency early would be routine screening. However, most blood tests assess your blood cell count and haemoglobin levels, and doctors oftentimes don’t look at iron levels unless it’s serious, cautions Dr Yong. To avoid this, point it out to your doctor on your next check up to ensure a more comprehensive lab report. It is also difficult to determine just how much iron one needs at it differs with age and circumstance (e.g. pregnancy). Furthermore, the amount of iron consumed and then absorbed by the body is largely dependent on the diet of the individual.