Iron Deficiency Anemia in Reproductive-Age Women

Ms. A is a white female in her mid-twenties who looks healthy but experiences short breaths and fatigue during golf sessions. These symptoms worsen when she is menstruating. Initial examination indicates that she has an elevated body temperature (98 degrees F), low blood pressure, as well as abnormally high heart and respiratory rates. For the last 12 years, she has been experiencing both amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea, which she has been managing using aspirin. Although other laboratory values are normal, hemoglobin, hematocrit, erythrocyte, and reticulocyte counts are abnormal at 8 g/dl, 32%, 3.1×10/mm, and 1.5%, respectively. This essay describes the type of anemia from which the patient is suffering. The rationale for knowing the disease the patient is suffering from is to adopt the right treatment and follow-ups.

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Based on the circumstances and results from the preliminary workup, Ms. A is suffering from iron deficiency anemia (IDA). This “type of anemia develops after iron deposits lose their physiological ability to produce an adequate number of red blood cells” (Percy, Mansour, & Fraser, 2017, p. 55). The literature about the condition states that it is associated with shortness of breath as well as weakness, which are the initial symptoms (Camaschella & Pagani, 2018). According to the description, the patient presented with relatively low energy levels and trends of short breaths, indicating high chances of IDA. In addition, she experienced acute dizziness when she engaged in sports, and this is attributed to the non-specific presentation of this anemia.

Camaschella and Pagani (2018) state that the abnormal amounts of hematocrit and hemoglobin identified in the diagnosis should be corrected. Notably, the levels of hematocrit and hemoglobin are 32% and 8 g/dl, respectively, and these are below normal physiological thresholds. In females, iron deficiency could arise from blood loss during menses and gastrointestinal bleeding. Moreover, the physical assessment in such cases shows tachycardia as well as low blood pressure. As explained by Percy et al. (2017), low erythrocyte numbers are important in the evaluation of IDA. That notwithstanding, other factors such as dehydration, attitude, depression, and drugs are also considered when assessing the patterns of this health condition, especially in the predisposed population.

When an individual uses aspirin in the long run, he or she increases the chances of presenting with symptoms of IDA. Among the affected persons, excessive blood loss is cited as the main cause of the development of pathologic anemia (Pratt & Khan, 2016). In this context, there could be many sources of hemorrhage, such as menorrhagia. However, blood loss from any source could result in the illness since it causes a reduction of iron content in the body. Fortunately, the bone marrow can be physiologically activated to counteract the loss of hemoglobin and, consequently, handling the clinical situation (Percy et al., 2017). From the case study, the patient has defects in hemoglobin production mechanisms that have led to the release of both hypochromic and microcytic red blood cells, implying that there is a gradual decrease of iron in blood circulation.

From a clinical perspective, the patient in the case study has all the important symptoms of IDA. Women of reproductive age suffer from iron deficiency anemia as a result of menorrhagia. Therefore, short breaths, dizziness, tiredness, nervousness, and palpitations need urgent medical care to track this type of illness among predisposed persons. Notably, young women who present with mild IDA show no signs, while those who suffer from the severe forms of the condition are diagnosed with tachycardia during physical assessments.

References

Camaschella, C., & Pagani, A. (2018). Advances in understanding iron metabolism and its crosstalk with erythropoiesis. British Journal of Haematology, 182(4), 481-494.

Percy, L., Mansour, D., & Fraser, I. (2017). Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia in women. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 40(3), 55-67.

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Pratt, J. J., & Khan, K. S. (2016). Non‐anaemic iron deficiency–a disease looking for recognition of diagnosis: A systematic review. European Journal of Haematology, 96(6), 618-628.

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