Understanding Iron Infusions: Managing Iron Deficiency and Enhancing Well-being

Understanding Iron Infusions: Managing Iron Deficiency and Enhancing Well-being

Homecare Visit with a Senior Woman

Iron deficiency is a common health concern, affecting individuals due to various reasons, such as heavy menstrual bleeding, dietary choices like vegetarianism or veganism, gastrointestinal disorders, and chronic conditions like chronic kidney disease. A study in 2021 from University of Western Australia and University College London, revealed that up to 18% of women appearing otherwise fit and healthy are iron deficient.

Recognising the signs of iron deficiency and addressing it promptly is crucial to prevent complications and maintain overall health. At Evoca, we offer comprehensive support, including iron infusions, to manage iron deficiency effectively.

Iron deficiency causes

The causes of iron deficiency are broad and varied, ranging from ethnic blood cell variants, through to dietary, heavy menstrual bleeding, gastrointestinal problems, and rarely cancers.

While replacing iron in those deficient is important, so is identifying and addressing the underlying cause. Your Evoca doctor will assist in navigating and treating any underlying cause of the iron deficiency as well as facilitating iron replacement, to ensure the issue doesn’t recur

Importance of Iron in the Body

Iron plays a pivotal role in transporting oxygen through the blood, supporting overall organ function, and maintaining vitality. When iron levels are low, it can lead to anaemia and a range of symptoms that affect daily life.

Recognising Iron deficiency symptoms

As iron levels decline and anaemia sets in, individuals may experience a range of symptoms:

  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Breathlessness on minimal exertion
  • Skin itching
  • Sore and shiny tongue
  • Mouth corner sores
  • Hair loss
  • Nail changes

If you think you might have an iron deficiency, speak to your Evoca doctor about getting a blood test today!

happy female doctor with patient

Addressing Iron Deficiency

Once diagnosed, your Evoca doctor will discuss suitable options for iron replacement based on your individual circumstances.

These options include:

  • Oral Iron Replacement: Typically in the form of tablets or liquids, these may be prescribed or available over the counter. However, they can cause gastrointestinal side effects and may take a few months to show significant improvement.
  • Intravenous Iron Replacement**: An iron infusion helps treat iron deficiency, by directly infusing iron into the bloodstream through a vein.

A needle or cannula is placed into a vein in the arm or the back of the hand, which is connected to a drip that delivers iron mixed with saline.

The infusion process usually takes around 1 hour, but the duration may vary depending on the type of infusion. During the procedure, your GP will review your condition and monitor you for any reactions.

For more detailed information, consult your Evoca GP.

Preparation for Iron Infusion

To ensure a comfortable experience during your iron infusion at Evoca, consider the following:

  • Have your breakfast/lunch. You do not need to fast for an iron infusion
  • Take all your regular medications
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Keep your hands and arms warm
  • Bring a copy of your recent pathology tests
  • Fill out your iron prescription prior and bring the iron with you on the day.

During the infusion, if you experience any discomfort or unusual symptoms, our nurses and doctors are readily available to assist and ensure your well-being.

Understanding the Process and FAQs

  • How effective are iron infusions? : Infusions, in contrast to oral iron replacement, more quickly raise ferritin levels, as they bypass gut absorption and directly target the bloodstream. Follow-up blood tests at around 8 weeks post-infusion will confirm improvements to iron levels.
  • How long to the effects of an iron infusion last? : Longevity depends on the cause of iron deficiency. Addressing the root cause may maintain iron levels for months to years, whereas an untreated or continuing cause may result in recurring low iron levels. Some contitions of the red blood cells, may predispose an individual to chronic low iron which is resistant to both oral and intravenous replacement. Your Evoca doctor will assess you for this, if appropriate, depending on clinical risk.
  • How long does it take to feel better following an iron infusion?: While iron levels rise swiftly post-infusion, it may take 2-3 weeks to feel better, especially after severe iron deficiency.
  • How likely is skin staining from iron infusion?: Skin staining arises when the intravenous iron liquid leaks from the vein into the surrounding soft tissues and skin layers. This may occur at any time during or even up to four days after the infusion. In the rare event of skin staining, it’s generally permanent, but dermatological procedures, such as laser therapy, might help to reduce its appearance.

At Evoca, we prioritise your health and comfort throughout the iron infusion process, aiming to provide effective treatment and support for your overall well-being.

*Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes and should not replace medical advice. Always consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.*

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