This coming Sunday, 26 November, is Iron Deficiency Day, a day dedicated to recognising the many symptoms of iron deficiency, which, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) affects 30% of the world's population.
One of the main barriers preventing successful diagnosis is in the recognition of the symptoms of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia.
Symptoms suggesting iron deficiency are generally vague and can be associated with a number of clinical conditions. Symptoms highly suggestive of iron deficiency include generalised fatigue, often independent of anaemia, and ingestion of non-nutritive materials such as clay, dirt, paper, ice, and others (pica). Other common symptoms include brittle nails, hair loss, and restless legs syndrome.
Luisa Avedano, CEO of The European Federation of Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis Associations commented: "For people with ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease (CD), iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia are common problems. Symptoms such as persistent fatigue and lack of energy can have a significant impact on quality of life, so effective management of the iron levels is important as a part of the wider management of UC and CD.
"Iron Deficiency Day 2017 should help by prompting people to get checked if they suspect they may have any symptom of iron deficiency."
Underlining another condition where iron deficiency can have a significant adverse impact, Nick Hartshorne-Evans, founder and CEO of the Pumping Marvellous Foundation commented: "Iron deficiency in conditions such as heart failure is a very serious and real problem. It seems according to recent research that as many as one in two people with heart failure may have iron deficiency. Events such as Iron Deficiency Day 2017 are important in raising awareness of iron deficiency and its impact."
Visual infographics, a new symptom browser as well as advice is available at irondeficiencyday.com