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why do people with low iron chew ice

The medical term that describes a desire to chew or eat ice is pagophagia. Although eating ice is not dangerous on its own, a craving for ice is sometimes a symptom of iron deficiency. If you experience this symptom, contact your health-care provider to have your blood iron levels tested. Pica refers to cravings for unusual and non-nutritive substances. Chewing on ice, or pagophagia, is one type of pica. Other types include cravings for clay, cornstarch and paper. Pica is common in children. In adults, it may indicate an emotional condition, such as stress or obsessive compulsive disorder. The desire for ice is associated with iron deficiency, although the cause of the craving is unknown, according to MayoClinic. com.

Chewing on ice does not cure an iron deficiency since ice does not contain the mineral. To raise iron levels, you need to increase the amount of iron-rich foods in your diet or take iron supplements. Your treatment will depend on your age, health and the cause of your iron deficiency. Work with your doctor to diagnose and treat iron deficiency. Aside from dietary deficiency, low iron levels may be caused by a variety of underlying conditions, including chronic bleeding disorders. In the early stages, iron deficiency may not cause any visible symptoms. As your body's iron stores are further depleted, you may experience weakness, fatigue and difficulty remaining warm.

You may have difficulty concentrating, and children may display slow cognitive development. Poor immune function and susceptibility to infections is also common. People from certain high risk groups should be routinely screened for low iron. If you belong to a high risk group, pay particular attention to signs of iron deficiency, such as a craving for ice. Pregnant women often become deficient in iron due to rapid growth and their expanding blood supply. Young children are at risk, particularly between 6 months and 3 years of age due to rapid growth and low dietary iron consumption. Adolescent girls and women of childbearing age are at risk because iron is lost through menstruation.
Anemia is a condition where your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells moving through your blood.

Without enough iron in your body, red blood cells cannot carry oxygen around efficiently, and the tissues in your body begin to suffer from this decreased oxygen supply. Iron deficiency anemia can occur for several reasons. Most commonly, iron deficiency occurs because of bleeding in the body, such as with excessive menstrual bleeding and bleeding in the digestive tract. It can also occur in people with intestinal conditions such as Crohnвs disease or celiac disease, which might block iron absorption. People lacking enough iron-rich foods can also suffer from a deficiency.

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