Medical News Today: What to know about potassium deficiency symptoms

Potassium deficiency can occur if a person does not get enough potassium from their diet or loses too much potassium through prolonged diarrhea or vomiting. The symptoms depend on the severity of the deficiency but can include high blood pressure, constipation, kidney problems, muscle weakness, fatigue, and heart issues.

Potassium is an essential nutrient that the body requires for a wide range of functions, including keeping the heart beating. Severe potassium deficiency is called hypokalemia, and it occurs when a person’s potassium levels fall below 3.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).

Doctors consider a person to have severe hypokalemia — a potentially life-threatening condition — when their potassium levels are less than 2.5 mmol/L.

In this article, we describe some of the possible symptoms of potassium deficiency. We also cover when to see a doctor, diagnosis, treatment, and potassium food sources.

Constipation

Potassium plays an important role in relaying messages from the brain to the muscles and regulating muscle contractions. Low potassium levels can affect the muscles in the intestines, which can slow the passage of food and waste. This effect on the intestines can cause constipation and bloating.

Muscle weakness

Potassium deficiency can affect other muscles in the body, including those in the arms and legs, which can lead to general muscle weakness and cramping.

A person loses small amounts of potassium through sweat, which is why heavy sweating from intense physical activity or being in a hot climate can often lead to muscle weakness or cramping.

Unexplained fatigue

Potassium is an essential nutrient that is present in all of the body’s cells and tissues. When potassium levels fall, this can significantly affect a wide range of bodily functions, which can lead to low energy levels and both physical and mental fatigue.

High blood pressure

Blood pressure monitor being applied to arm of person with potassium deficiency or hypokalemia
A person’s potassium levels can affect their blood pressure.

Low potassium levels can lead to an increase in blood pressure, particularly in people with a high sodium, or salt, intake. Potassium has an important role in relaxing the blood vessels, which helps lower a person’s blood pressure.

Potassium also helps balance sodium levels in the body. A diet high in sodium is a common cause of high blood pressure. Doctors often recommend that people with high blood pressure lower their sodium intake and increase their potassium intake.

Polyuria

The kidneys are responsible for removing waste products and regulating the levels of fluids and electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, in the blood. They do this by passing waste and excess electrolytes out of the body in the urine.

Moderate-to-severe hypokalemia can interfere with the kidneys’ ability to balance fluid and electrolyte levels in the bloodstream, and this can lead to increased urination, which is called polyuria.

Muscle paralysis

People with severe hypokalemia can experience muscle paralysis. When the levels of potassium in the body are very low, the muscles are unable to contract properly and may stop working altogether.

Breathing problems

Severe hypokalemia can also lead to breathing problems. Breathing requires the use of several muscles, particularly the diaphragm. If a person’s potassium levels become very low, these muscles may not work properly. A person may have difficulty taking a deep breath or may feel very short of breath.

Irregular heart rhythms

Doctor listening to patients heartbeat using stethoscope
An irregular heart rhythm is a potential symptom of hypokalemia.

Another symptom of severe hypokalemia is an irregular heart rhythm. Potassium plays an important role in regulating the contractions of all muscles, including the heart muscle.

Very low levels of potassium in the body can lead to irregular heart rhythms, including sinus bradycardia, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation. If a person does not receive treatment, these conditions can be life-threatening.

Doctors can detect irregular heart rhythms using an electrocardiogram (EKG).

When to see a doctor

People with symptoms of hypokalemia should see a doctor.

Hypokalemia is more common in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and gastrointestinal illnesses that cause severe or persistent diarrhea or vomiting. Certain medications, such as laxatives and diuretics, can also increase the risk of potassium deficiency.

It is important to seek immediate medical attention for symptoms of severe hypokalemia, such as muscle paralysis, breathing problems, or irregular heart rhythms.

Diagnosis

A doctor can perform a simple blood test to determine a person’s potassium levels. The test involves taking a small blood sample from a vein in the hand or arm.

To determine the underlying cause of potassium deficiency, a doctor will also review the person’s medical history and any medications that they are taking.

The doctor may sometimes recommend additional tests, including:

  • further blood tests to check the levels of other electrolytes, such as phosphorous, calcium, and magnesium
  • urine testing to determine how much potassium is passing out of the body

Further tests may be necessary depending on the person’s medical history and symptoms.

Treatment

dried apricots in a bowl
Eating foods rich in potassium, such as dried apricots, can help to treat potassium deficiency.

The type of treatment for potassium deficiency will depend on a person’s symptoms and how low their potassium levels have become.

For people with mild hypokalemia, a doctor may recommend:

  • stopping or reducing the dosages of any medicines that can cause low potassium
  • taking daily potassium supplements
  • eating more foods rich in potassium, such as fruits and vegetables
  • taking medications that can increase potassium levels in the body, such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers

People with severe hypokalemia require immediate treatment, and a doctor may recommend intravenous potassium. However, doctors need to be careful when prescribing hypokalemia treatments as it is possible to provide a person with too much potassium, leading to excessive potassium levels in the body, or hyperkalemia.

Severe hyperkalemia can also cause serious muscle and heart problems.

Food sources

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, the recommended daily intake of potassium is:

  • 3,400 milligrams (mg) for adult males
  • 2,600 mg for adult females

Potassium occurs naturally in a wide range of foods, including fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, nuts, and whole grains. The body absorbs around 85 to 90% of the potassium in food sources.

Examples of foods rich in potassium include:

  • dried apricots: 1,101 mg per half cup
  • cooked lentils: 731 mg per cup
  • dried prunes: 699 mg per half cup
  • orange juice: 496 mg per cup
  • banana: 422 mg in a medium-sized banana
  • 1%-fat milk: 366 mg per cup
  • spinach: 334 mg per 2 cups
  • nonfat fruit yogurt: 330 mg per 6 ounces
  • cooked, chopped broccoli: 229 mg per half cup
  • cooked brown rice: 154 mg per cup

The best way for a person to get enough potassium is to eat a varied and healthful diet.

Summary

Potassium deficiency, or hypokalemia, can occur if a person does not get enough potassium from their diet. Severe vomiting or diarrhea, IBD, and certain medications can increase the risk of deficiency.

The symptoms of hypokalemia depend on the severity of the deficiency, but they can include constipation, muscle problems, fatigue, and heart issues. Severe hypokalemia can be life-threatening if a person does not receive treatment.

The best way to get enough potassium is to eat a varied diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Medical News Today: Signs and symptoms of MS in women

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that interferes with the flow of information in the central nervous system. It causes a variety of symptoms and can affect women differently than men.

Researchers do not know what triggers multiple sclerosis (MS). Once it develops, the disease causes the immune system to destroy a type of tissue called myelin that insulates nerve fibers.

Without enough myelin, it is difficult for the nerves to transmit and receive signals properly.

MS randomly affects nerves in the brain, spinal cord, and eyes, meaning that it can cause a wide range of unpredictable physical, mental, and emotional symptoms that vary from person to person.

In this article, we discuss some of the most common symptoms of MS and explain why women might experience symptoms somewhat differently. We also cover diagnosis and treatment.

Effects on the body MS <br>Image credit: Stephen Kelly, 2019</br>
Image credit: Stephen Kelly, 2019

MS in women

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), at least two or three times more women than men receive a diagnosis of MS.

Overall, MS seems to affect men and women similarly. However, a doctor cannot predict which symptoms someone with MS will get, the severity of the symptoms, or the progression of the disease.

The reason for this is that the disease attacks the myelin randomly, and the nerves that it affects can differ from person to person.

Although men and women with MS often experience similar symptoms, certain factors, such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, may influence MS symptoms in women.

Symptoms of MS in women

The symptoms of MS in women are similar to those in men, but they can include additional issues due to hormonal changes.

MS can also affect female sexual health and bladder function differently.

MS symptoms in women include:

1. Vision problems

For many people, a vision problem is the first noticeable symptom of MS.

MS can cause various vision problems, which include:

  • blurred vision
  • poor color vision or contrast vision
  • painful eye movement
  • blindness in one eye
  • a dark spot in the field of vision

People with MS develop vision problems either because their optic nerves become inflamed or because they have nerve damage in the pathways that control visual coordination and eye movement.

While vision problems due to MS can be scary, most either resolve without treatment or are highly treatable.

2. Numbness

Numbness in the face, body, arms, or legs is another common symptom of MS, and it is often one of the earliest symptoms of the condition.

The numbness can range from mild and barely noticeable to severe enough that it interferes with everyday activities, such as holding objects and walking.

Most periods of numbness from MS resolve without medication and do not become permanently disabling.

3. Fatigue

woman asleep on the sofa due to fatigue which is an MS symptom
Fatigue is a common symptom of MS.

About 80 percent of people with MS experience fatigue or unexplained exhaustion.

Sometimes, the cause of fatigue relates to another symptom of MS. For example, people with bladder dysfunction may sleep poorly because they have to wake throughout the night to go to the bathroom.

People with MS who have nocturnal muscle spasms may not sleep well, leaving them feeling tired during the day. MS can also increase the risk of depression, which can cause fatigue.

Another type of fatigue that seems to be unique to MS is called lassitude. A person’s fatigue may be lassitude if it:

  • occurs daily
  • worsens as the day goes on
  • happens in the morning, even after a good sleep
  • worsens with heat or humidity
  • interferes with daily activity
  • is unrelated to physical impairments or depression

4. Bladder problems

Bladder problems affect at least 80 percent of people with MS. These issues occur when scars on the nerves impair nerve signaling that is necessary for the function of the urinary sphincters and bladder.

MS can make it difficult for the bladder to hold urine and may reduce the amount that it can store, causing symptoms such as:

  • more frequent or urgent urination
  • hesitancy starting urination
  • frequent overnight urination
  • being unable to empty the bladder
  • being unable to hold urine or having urine leaks

5. Bowel problems

Many people with MS experience bowel problems, such as:

Bowel problems can make other MS symptoms worse, especially bladder problems, muscle stiffness, and involuntary muscle spasms.

Researchers think that people with MS have problems controlling their bowels because of the neurological damage that the condition causes. Some people with MS may also have trouble controlling their bowels when they are constipated.

6. Pain

Some research suggests that 55 percent of people with MS experience clinically significant pain, while 48 percent live with chronic pain. Women with MS may be more likely than men to experience pain as a symptom of this condition.

Acute MS pain seems to be due to problems with the nerves that help transmit sensations in the central nervous system.

Some of the acute pain symptoms that have an association with MS include:

  • Trigeminal neuralgia, a stabbing pain in the face that people may confuse with dental pain.
  • Lhermitte’s sign, a short sensation resembling an electric shock that moves from the back of the head down the neck and spine, usually after bending forward.
  • The MS hug, a stabbing, squeezing, painful, or burning sensation around the torso or in the legs, feet, or arms.

Some of the symptoms that people with chronic MS pain may report include:

  • burning
  • aching
  • pins and needles
  • prickling

Many people with MS also experience chronic pain as a secondary effect of the condition. For example, it could be due to:

  • compensating for gait changes
  • muscle stiffness, cramps, and spasms
  • incorrect use of mobility aids
  • muscle changes from mobility loss

7. Cognitive changes

More than 50 percent of people with MS experience changes in cognition, which means that they may sometimes have trouble:

  • processing new information
  • learning and remembering new information
  • organizing information and problem-solving
  • focusing and maintaining attention
  • properly perceiving the environment around them
  • understanding and using language
  • doing calculations

The cognitive symptoms of MS are typically mild to moderate and only affect a few aspects of cognition.

In rare cases, people with MS may experience disabling cognitive problems.

8. Depression

support network
For people with MS, clinical depression is a common symptom.

Clinical depression is one of the most common symptoms of MS. Depression is more common in people with MS than in people with other chronic health conditions.

While almost everyone experiences periods of sadness or grief, clinical depression refers to depressive symptoms that last for a minimum of 2 weeks.

Some of the symptoms of clinical depression include:

  • loss of interest in everyday activities
  • increase in appetite or appetite loss
  • sadness
  • irritability
  • insomnia or excessive sleep
  • fatigue
  • feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • behavioral changes
  • thoughts of death or suicide

Clinical depression can also worsen other MS symptoms, including:

  • fatigue
  • pain
  • cognitive changes

9. Muscle weakness

Many people with MS experience muscle weakness. This symptom is due to damage to the nerve fibers that help control muscles.

People with MS may also experience muscle weakness because a lack of use has led their muscles to become deconditioned over time.

MS-related muscle weakness can affect any part of the body. It can be especially challenging for people with MS to walk and stay mobile when muscle weakness affects their legs, ankles, and feet.

10. Muscle stiffness and spasms

MS can cause spasticity, which is muscle stiffness and involuntary muscle spasms in the extremities, especially the legs.

Some of the signs and symptoms of spasticity include:

  • tightness in or around the joints
  • painful, uncontrollable spasms in the arms and legs
  • lower back pain
  • hips and knees that bend and become difficult to straighten
  • hips and knees that stiffen while close together or crossed

11. Dizziness and vertigo

Some people with MS experience dizziness and the sensation of being lightheaded, woozy, weak, or faint.

Less commonly, they experience vertigo, which makes it feel as though a person or their surroundings are spinning.

MS may cause vertigo by damaging the pathways that coordinate the spatial, visual, and sensory input that the brain needs to maintain balance in the body.

The symptoms of vertigo include:

  • balance problems
  • motion sickness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • being lightheaded
  • a spinning sensation

12. Sexual problems

People with MS often experience sexual problems and may find it difficult to get aroused or have an orgasm.

MS may reduce natural vaginal lubrication, potentially making sexual intercourse painful for women.

The disease can also cause sexual problems by damaging nerves in the sexual response pathways that connect the brain and the sexual organs.

People with MS can also experience issues with sex as a result of other MS symptoms, such as:

  • muscle spasms and stiffness
  • mood or self-esteem changes
  • fatigue

13. Emotional changes

MS can cause a wide range of emotional symptoms and changes, including:

  • mood swings
  • periods of uncontrollable laughter or crying
  • irritability
  • grief
  • worry, fear, and anxiety
  • distress, anger, or frustration

The condition is unpredictable, often has fluctuating symptoms, and can become disabling, all of which can be scary for someone.

MS can also cause emotional changes by damaging the nerve fibers in the brain. Some of the medications that people take to manage MS can cause mood changes too.

For example, corticosteroids can have many emotional side effects, including:

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • agitation
  • tearfulness
  • restlessness
  • fear

14. Difficulty walking

People with MS can develop problems with gait, or how they walk, because of several factors. MS symptoms that affect how a person walks include:

  • muscle stiffness and spasms
  • numbness or other sensory problems in the hips, legs, ankles, or feet
  • fatigue
  • muscle weakness
  • loss of balance

15. Hormonal effects

There is some evidence to suggest that MS can affect women differently than men due to hormonal changes, including those that occur during:

Menstruation

More research is necessary to draw firm conclusions, but the NMSS state that some studies have found that women with MS have worse symptoms within a week of starting their period.

Studies that used an MRI have also shown that MS disease activity may change according to the different hormonal levels during menstruation.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy can reduce the risk of MS symptom flare-ups, especially during the second and third trimesters.

Researchers think that pregnancy has a protective effect against MS by raising the levels of compounds that help reduce inflammation and the effects of the disease.

Women who are pregnant also have naturally higher levels of circulating corticosteroids, another type of immunosuppressant.

Although pregnancy can temporarily reduce some MS symptoms, flare-ups tend to return in the first 3 to 6 months postpartum. However, in the long term, there is no proven link between pregnancy and a higher risk of disability.

While being pregnant can temporarily reduce the risk of flare-ups, pregnancy also puts a lot of physical stress on the body, which can make certain symptoms of MS worse.

In addition, some of the medications that people use for MS are not safe to take during pregnancy and can worsen symptoms.

Anyone with MS who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant should discuss their medications with their doctor.

Some MS symptoms that pregnancy often exacerbates include:

  • fatigue
  • gait problems
  • bladder and bowel problems

Menopause

MS symptoms may worsen after menopause, possibly because declining estrogen levels adversely affect disease progression.

However, it is difficult to tell whether MS symptoms worsen because of menopause or just as a natural result of aging or the progression of the condition.

Much more research is necessary to understand the relationship between menopause and MS symptoms.

Rarer symptoms

While the symptoms above are the most common, MS affects everyone differently. Less common symptoms of MS include:

Outlook

MS is an autoimmune disease that randomly affects parts of the central nervous system, resulting in unpredictable physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms.

Although MS tends to affect more women than men, it usually causes similar symptoms. However, women may experience variations in their symptoms due to hormonal changes, such as those that take place during menstruation or menopause.

Vision problems and random localized numbness are often the first symptoms of the condition. Depression, bladder problems, cognitive changes, and pain are also among the most common symptoms of MS.

There is no cure for MS, but different drugs and complementary therapies can typically help manage symptoms or even slow the progression of the condition.

Anyone experiencing concerning symptoms should see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Medical News Today: Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal

Caffeine is a stimulant that works to improve alertness, wakefulness, and mood. People who regularly consume caffeine may experience withdrawal symptoms after they suddenly stop drinking it.

Natural sources of caffeine include coffee, tea, and cocoa beans. Manufacturers also add synthetic caffeine to many foods, drinks, medicines, and supplements.

People who regularly consume caffeine may experience withdrawal symptoms after suddenly quitting caffeine.

This article describes the main symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. It also discusses what caffeine withdrawal is and some tips on how to cope when reducing caffeine intake or quitting altogether.

Headache

Woman experiencing caffeine withdrawal holding takeaway cup of coffee on public transport
Excessive caffeine consumption can lead to dependence.

People have long used caffeine to treat migraine and general pain due to its ability to reduce blood flow, especially in the brain. However, consuming too much caffeine can also trigger headaches.

Reducing or quitting caffeine after regular consumption can cause intense, migraine-like headaches in some people.

As a fat- and water-soluble molecule, caffeine readily crosses the blood-brain barrier where it constricts, or narrows, the blood vessels. Constricting the blood vessels causes a reduction in blood flow, which can help reduce migraine pain.

Reducing or quitting caffeine suddenly will allow the blood vessels to suddenly grow, increasing blood flow. This dramatic increase in blood flow can cause painful, throbbing headaches similar to those of migraine.

Headaches due to caffeine withdrawal can vary in length and severity. People can use caffeine to treat these headaches, but they should be careful not to consume more caffeine than they were previously.

Headaches should subside once the brain adapts to the change in blood flow.

Fatigue

Many people consume caffeine in the morning to boost their alertness levels. Caffeine prevents fatigue and increases alertness by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain.

Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that slows the central nervous system when the body prepares to sleep.

However, when a person suddenly stops or reduces their caffeine intake, it can briefly have the opposite effect and make a person feel more tired during the day.

People can avoid feeling overly tired during the day by getting enough sleep during the night.

Changes in mood

Stressed, depresses or anxious man sitting on park bench.
Caffeine can contribute to feelings of anxiety or depression.

Consuming low doses of caffeine can improve in mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. However, consuming moderate to high doses of caffeine can trigger feelings of anxiety, jitteriness, and nervousness.

These mood changes occur due to the effect that caffeine has on various neurotransmitters. These include dopamine, glutamate, and norepinephrine.

Dopamine activates pleasure centers in the brain and plays a role in regulating emotions and behaviors.

A 2015 study showed that caffeine does not directly stimulate dopamine production. Instead, it increases the number of available dopamine receptors in the brain. This may enhance dopamine’s overall effect on the brain.

Glutamate promotes communication among nerve cells and plays an essential role in learning and memory.

The brain produces norepinephrine when a person senses danger or stress in a process called the “fight-or-flight” response. Norepinephrine increases heart rate, breathing rate, and blood glucose levels.

Abruptly quitting caffeine can cause a dramatic change in the chemicals present in the brain, which may cause feelings of anxiety, depression, or irritability.

Difficulty concentrating

Because caffeine interacts with certain chemicals in the brain, it can affect concentration and memory.

A 2019 study found that consuming just 80 milligrams (mg) of caffeine led to improvements in working memory and reductions in response time among human participants.

Findings from a 2016 study suggest that regular caffeine intake may lower the risk of dementia or cognitive impairment in women aged 65 years and older.

People may experience difficulty concentrating after abruptly quitting caffeine. In the absence of caffeine, adenosine molecules can promote feelings of fatigue that may affect a person’s ability to concentrate.

Constipation

Caffeine stimulates contractions in the colon and intestines. These contractions help move food and waste material through the gastrointestinal tract.

People who regularly consume caffeine may experience mild constipation after reducing their caffeine intake.

People can prevent constipation by eating fiber-rich foods and staying hydrated.

What is caffeine withdrawal?

Person making coffee and tea hot drinks in a kitchen.
A person who consumes caffeine regularly may build up a tolerance.

Caffeine can alter the levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as adenosine and dopamine. Changes to these neurotransmitters can affect alertness, concentration, and mood.

People who regularly consume caffeine can build up a tolerance to its effects. Some people may even develop a slight physical or behavioral dependence on caffeine.

Those who abruptly quit caffeine after regularly consuming it may experience unpleasant symptoms, such as headaches and irritability. Doctors call this caffeine withdrawal syndrome.

The severity and duration of caffeine withdrawal syndrome can vary from person to person. Symptoms typically appear within 12–24 hours of quitting caffeine and can last up to 9 days.

How to cope

People can prevent caffeine withdrawal symptoms by gradually reducing their caffeine intake over time.

A 2019 study reported that gradually reducing caffeine consumption over a 6-week period led to successful, long-term caffeine cessation with minimal side effects.

According to the findings of another study from 2019, the best method for a person to relieve caffeine withdrawal symptoms is to consume more caffeine.

To avoid or reduce caffeine withdrawal symptoms:

  • Gradually reduce caffeine intake. Quitting caffeine can cause dramatic changes to brain chemistry, which may affect a person’s mood, cognitive ability, and physical well-being.
  • Find acceptable caffeine replacements. People who drink coffee regularly can gradually reduce their caffeine intake by mixing a little decaf into their daily coffee. People who drink multiple cups of coffee can try replacing one or more with decaf.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Getting enough sleep will help fight fatigue. Feeling well-rested can help reduce the body’s dependence on caffeine.
  • Drink water. Staying hydrated is essential. Dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue.

How much caffeine is too much?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 recommend that adults consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day to avoid unwanted side effects. This is equivalent to around four 8-ounce cups of coffee.

A 2015 study examined trends in caffeine intake among 24,808 adults between 2001 and 2010. On average, adult participants consumed 122–226mg of caffeine per day, which is well within the official recommendations.

However, findings from the study revealed that 14 percent of those who regularly consumed caffeine exceeded 400 mg per day. The study authors reported daily caffeine intakes of up to 1,329 mg per day and 756 mg in one sitting.

Summary

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. Regular consumption can alter a person’s brain chemistry. This can cause adverse physical and psychological reactions, such as headache and anxiety.

Caffeine directly inhibits the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that causes fatigue and drowsiness. Caffeine also promotes the effects of mood-altering neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and glutamate.

Caffeine withdrawal syndrome is a medically recognized condition that occurs when people experience significant symptoms after abruptly quitting caffeine. These symptoms tend appear within a day of quitting and can last a week or more in some people.

Gradually reducing caffeine intake over several weeks instead of quitting cold turkey may help reduce caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

Epilepsy – Seizure Types, Symptoms and Treatment Options [USMLE]

✔ Subscribe: https://tinyurl.com/medxclusiveSUB Our Blog: https://medxclusive.org/ Epilepsy is a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures. Epilepsy may occur as a result of a genetic disorder or an acquired brain injury, such as a…

✔ Subscribe: https://tinyurl.com/medxclusiveSUB
Our Blog: https://medxclusive.org/
Epilepsy is a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures.
Epilepsy may occur as a result of a genetic disorder or an acquired brain injury, such as a trauma or stroke.
During a seizure, a person experiences abnormal behavior, symptoms, and sensations, sometimes including loss of consciousness.
Follow the world of medicine by SUBSCRIBING with notifications ON!
Medicine is the science and practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. The word “medicine” is derived from Latin medicus, meaning “a physician”

Medical News Today: What are the symptoms of an iron deficiency?

Iron deficiency is when there is not enough iron in the blood. It can lead to symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness, among many others.

Iron is a mineral that is vital for many bodily functions. It supports the transportation of oxygen in the blood. It is also essential for the correct development and functioning of cells, and the production of some hormones and tissues.

If a person’s iron levels fall too low, it can disrupt these functions and may lead to iron-deficiency anemia. In most cases, this condition is easily treatable.

This article will discuss the symptoms of iron deficiency, as well as when to see a doctor.

Symptoms

Tired fatigue and sad or stressed woman sitting on edge of bed.
Iron-deficiency anemia can cause fatigue and dizziness.

The symptoms of an iron deficiency vary, depending on its severity, as well as a person’s overall health.

For a mild or moderate iron deficiency, a person may not experience any noticeable symptoms.

Sometimes, a lack of iron can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. This is when the body does not have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood.

Iron-deficiency anemia can cause symptoms that include:

  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • sensitivity to temperature
  • cold hands and feet
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • difficulty concentrating
  • heart palpitations
  • restless leg syndrome
  • cravings for nonfood items, such as ice or dirt

There are also several physical signs of an iron deficiency to look out for, such as:

  • brittle nails
  • cracks at the sides of the mouth
  • hair loss
  • inflammation of the tongue
  • abnormally pale or yellow skin
  • irregular heartbeat or breathing

Causes

Cooked baked beans in dish on wooden table
Beans are a healthful plant-based source of iron.

Iron deficiencies occur when an insufficient amount of iron is present in the blood.

There are several potential causes for a lack of iron, including the following:

Diet

Iron is in many different types of foods, including fish, fortified cereals, beans, meat, and leafy green vegetables.

The National Institutes of Health recommend that male adults get 8 milligrams (mg) of iron per day and that female adults get 18 mg per day before 50 years of age and 8 mg after that age.

Iron malabsorption

Some medical conditions and medications may prevent the body from absorbing iron properly, even when a person is eating plenty of iron-rich foods.

Conditions that can cause problems with iron absorption include:

  • intestinal and digestive conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease
  • gastrointestinal surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery
  • rare genetic mutations

Blood loss

Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells. It contains most of the body’s iron. For this reason, blood loss can result in iron deficiencies and anemia.

Blood loss can be a result of injury, or too frequent blood tests or donations. But it can also occur with certain conditions or medications, including:

  • internal bleeding from ulcers or colon cancer
  • regular use of aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • heavy menstrual periods
  • urinary tract bleeding
  • rare genetic conditions
  • surgery

Other conditions

Other conditions that may cause iron deficiency include:

Iron is particularly important during periods of growth. For this reason, children and pregnant women have a higher risk of developing iron deficiency and anemia than others.

Diagnosis

A doctor may initially perform a physical examination when diagnosing iron deficiency.

They will also ask about a person’s symptoms and any risk factors, such as heavy menstrual bleeding or an underlying medical condition.

If a doctor suspects an iron deficiency, they will usually order a blood test.

The results of these tests can provide information such as the total amount of red blood cells and iron content in the blood.

If the doctor suspects internal bleeding, further tests may be necessary. These could include:

  • a fecal blood test
  • an endoscopy
  • a colonoscopy

Treatment

A doctor may prescribe iron pills to treat iron deficiency.
A doctor may prescribe iron pills to treat iron deficiency.

The exact treatment for an iron deficiency will depend on the cause and severity of the condition.

In most cases, a doctor will prescribe iron pills. These are medicinal supplements that have more iron than over-the-counter multivitamin supplements.

In cases where iron malabsorption is an issue, it is possible to deliver iron intravenously. This is also an option in other cases, such as in cases of significant blood loss. In the most severe cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary.

If internal bleeding is a cause of the deficiency, it may require surgery.

A doctor may also suggest dietary changes to include more iron-rich foods. Learn about a variety of iron-rich foods in this article.

When to see a doctor

Anyone experiencing symptoms of an iron deficiency should speak to a doctor. The doctor can provide a simple blood test to get quick answers.

If a person’s iron levels are normal, there may be another problem causing their symptoms. It is best to work with a doctor to get a definitive diagnosis.

Restoring iron levels to normal can occur within 1 or 2 months of treatment. A doctor may recommend taking iron pills for longer to help create an iron “store.” In severe cases, however, more intensive treatments may be necessary.

Summary

An iron deficiency can cause many symptoms, including dizziness, fatigue, and cold hands and feet.

A doctor can usually diagnose an iron deficiency using a simple blood test. Treatment may involve taking prescription iron supplements for several months.

In cases where an underlying medical condition causes the deficiency, a person may require more extensive treatment.

Thyroid Symptoms In Women: Signs, Causes & Treatment

Everything you need to know about Thyroid disorders in women. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism symptoms, causes and treatments. #Hypothyroidism #Hyperthyroidism #ThyroidSymptomsInWomen Music: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music Summary: What Is Hypothyroidism: According to the Mayo Clinic, this disorder means that your thyroid gland is barely…

Everything you need to know about Thyroid disorders in women. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism symptoms, causes and treatments.

#Hypothyroidism #Hyperthyroidism #ThyroidSymptomsInWomen

Music:
https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music

Summary:
What Is Hypothyroidism: According to the Mayo Clinic, this disorder means that your thyroid gland is barely active and there is not enough of the thyroid hormone in the blood. Hypothyroidism is also called underactive thyroid or low thyroid, and is classified as a disorder of the endocrine system in a person’s thyroid gland. It occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This results in a number of different symptoms. The symptoms can vary from person to person, but one clear signal is the ability to lose weight.

Hyperthyroidism: This thyroid disorder is the total opposite of hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism means that there is too much thyroid hormone in the blood, says WebMD. Also different is how it affects the metabolism, unlike hypothyroidism this disorder speeds up the metabolism.

Cause of Thyroid Disorders: The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune disorder and the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It causes antibodies to stimulate a person’s thyroid, making it secrete excess amounts of the hormone. Graves’ disease is much more common among women than it is in men, and is usually genetic. Other causes of hyperthyroidism are tumors in the ovaries, benign tumors of the thyroid or pituitary gland, excess iodine, large amount of tetraiodothyronine which are taken through medication or supplements, and more.

How to Detect and Treat These Disorders: If you or someone you know is developing symptoms that were mentioned above, doctors will conduct blood work to confirm if the thyroid hormones are within range. The Mayo Clinic explains that the treatment for thyroid disorders normally includes the prescription of a synthetic hormone called levothyroxine. Also, anti-thyroid drugs that block production of your own thyroid hormones may also be used.

Most symptoms associated with thyroid disorders are very slow and gradual. You may not notice the symptoms at first. This is why it is important to monitor your health, and the moment you start to notice symptoms like extreme fatigue, excessive weight gain or loss, dry skin, puffy eyes, and / or a pale face, consult with your doctor to rule out any thyroid disorders. If you are diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, your doctor will put you on a course of treatment to minimize your symptoms.

—————————————————————————————-
Subscribe to Bestie : https://goo.gl/tUqro6

—————————————————————————————-
Our Social Media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bestieinc/

—————————————————————————————-