Iron is vital to the human body. Vital biological processes, like the synthesis of heme which forms the basis of the oxygen-carrying protein of the blood, the formation of myoglobin, energy metabolism, neurotransmitter production, the formation of collagen and immune system function, all depend on iron. Lack of iron is among the principal causes of anemia within the general population. So, it is not surprising that iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is related to increased morbidity and mortality.
Adolescence is a time of increased iron needs due the expansion of blood volume and increases in muscle mass. Young women are at particular risk for the event of iron deficiency thanks to menstrual loss. In addition, athletes (marathon runners, cyclists) and adolescents, and people who limit their intake of meat products are at risk of IDA.
Iron deficiency anemia can be defined as:
Girls, 12 years and older, non-pregnant – Hemoglobin <12 g/dL and Ferritin <15 micrograms/L, Pregnant adolescents and women – hemoglobin <11 g/dL (pregnant) and Ferritin <15 micrograms/L
For Men, – hemoglobin <13 g/dL and Ferritin <15 micrograms/L
Treatment with Intravenous (IV) iron is superior to oral iron and presents several advantages such as faster and higher increase in Hemoglobin levels and replenishment of body iron stores. For these reasons, modern formulations of IV iron have emerged as safe and effective alternatives for IDA management. In cases of severe anemia, an IV infusion will be most effective in restoring nominal levels of Hemoglobin at a quicker pace.
Monofer is one of the newer formulations of IV Iron. It uses a non-branched, non-anaphylactic carbohydrate, structurally different from the branched polysaccharides used in iron dextran. Monofer has a very low immunogenic potential and a very low content of free iron. This is why it can be administered in a rapid high dose infusion of up to 2000 mg without the application of a test dose, offering considerable dose flexibility. This opens up the possibility of providing full iron repletion in a single infusion. The availability of stable parenteral iron compounds allowing for higher dose infusion may greatly facilitate iron replacement therapy in IDA patients. The use of these stable compounds carries benefits for the patient (less disruption of life, less time away from home/work, reduced injections, fewer side effects, etc.) and the healthcare provider (reduced visits, reduced physician and nurse time, improved out-patient management, improved cost-effectiveness, etc.).
So if you are a woman with heavy menstrual bleeding, and you are feeling tired, short of breath, palpitations, headaches and dizziness, its best to do a medical check up to investigate your Hemoglobin and Ferritin levels. IV Monofer might be the most suitable treatment for you.
If you are an athlete, regardless of sex, who engages in strenuous and consistent activity like marathons, triathlons or cycling, you should check your Hemoglobin Iron levels yearly, or immediately if you are experiencing symptoms of anemia.