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Iron Infusions: Here are the facts.

Are you Feeling unusually tired and/or have low energy levels?

Do you find it difficult to concentrate or often experience shortness of breath with minimal exertion? Have you been experiencing constant headaches? Have you noticed unintentional weight gain? All these symptoms can be signs of iron deficiency anaemia.

Iron is indispensable for maintaining overall health and well-being, supporting everything from the transportation of oxygen around our bodies, a healthy immune system, and cognitive processes such as learning, memory, and concentration.

Since our bodies can’t produce iron on their own, we must seek external sources to introduce it into our systems. Iron infusions are one such way to do this.

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies worldwide, including in Australia. It affects people of all ages, but certain groups are at higher risk. It is estimated that around 20% of Australian women of reproductive age have iron deficiency, with a significant portion developing iron deficiency anaemia.

What are the main reasons my iron levels might be low? 

  1. You are not eating enough iron-rich food: we get iron from our food so make sure you are getting the recommended daily dose.
  2. Your body has trouble absorbing iron: even if you are getting enough iron, your body may be struggling to absorb it for several reasons, one being undiagnosed Coeliac disease.
  3. You have lost blood: low iron symptoms for females are often a result of heavy periods or perhaps you are a regular blood donor? There are less common but more serious causes of blood loss like internal bleeding, cancer or ulcers.

Below I’ll run through a few questions you may have about iron infusions and whether they may be right for you. So, lets “iron” out the details for a healthier you! I’ll not do that again, I promise 😊

What is an Iron Infusion?

An iron infusion is a simple procedure where we inject iron into your body. During the infusion, iron is delivered directly into the bloodstream through a vein (usually in the arm) using an intravenous (IV) line. Patient well-being is consistently our focus and as such we’ll guide you through the process from the first appointment until the day of the infusion. We use the trusted Ferinject ® iron preparation treatment.

I usually tell my patients that you will require 2 appointments. At your first appointment, we’ll sit down and discuss your symptoms and whether they may be due to iron deficiency. I’ll order some pathology tests for you to do (you can have these done at Sage Medical) and we then wait for the results.

 

Would you benefit from an iron infusion?

I usually prescribe an iron infusion for patients if I have tried to introduce iron into their body via an oral iron supplement and the levels haven’t increased or taking an iron supplement orally might not be the best way to increase their iron levels. So, if this is the case, we boost their levels of iron during an infusion. I also prescribe iron infusions for people diagnosed with iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) or those at risk of developing IDA.

I’ll discuss this with you after I’ve seen your blood test results and determine whether an iron infusion is right for you. If these tests reveal that an iron infusion is appropriate, we’ll send you a prescription for Ferinject ® to fill at your pharmacy. You would then make a booking for an iron infusion and bring the Ferinject ® with you.

What to expect on the day of your infusion.

The infusion really is a simple and safe procedure. I’ll meet with you again and discuss any questions you may have about the iron infusion. Then, in our dedicated treatment room, one of our experienced Registered Nurses will insert a small needle into your arm. Our nurse will gently administer the iron infusion into your bloodstream, typically over a period of about 20 minutes.

After the procedure, we’ll request that you take some time to unwind in our waiting room for about 30 minutes. This allows us to closely observe you for any potential allergic reactions. If you fancy a cup of tea or coffee whilst you wait, don’t hesitate to ask. That’s it, simple as. 😊

You can expect to notice the benefits of the iron infusion within two to four weeks. Following the infusion, we’ll schedule a follow-up blood test around four to six weeks later to evaluate its effectiveness.

Please make an appointment with me or any of the other fine GPs at the clinic to discuss your symptoms if you feel that you may be iron deficient.