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Pagophagy: Ice addiction due to iron deficiency in the blood

  1. Pagophagy is a rare condition in which patients (especially children and pregnant women) are addicted to ice cream that consists only of frozen water (no ice cream). In the vast majority of cases, this ice addiction arises as a result of an iron deficiency (ferriprieve anemia), although a psychological illness sometimes also plays a role. In addition to the ice addiction, symptoms also occur due to the lack of iron in the blood, such as fatigue and dizziness. There are also possible complications from eating the ice cream. If the complaints have been present for more than one month, it is important to see a doctor. The doctor then checks the iron levels in the blood and proposes a treatment to prevent complications.

Causes: Iron deficiency and psychological problems

  1. Pagophagy is a form of the eating disorder pica

Diagnosis and investigations

  1. A short-term craving for ice cream is not alarming yet, but if this craving persists for more than one month, it is wise to see a doctor. The doctor asks the patient about the amount of ice the patient eats and how long the ice addiction has been present. In addition, he wants to find out from the patient whether he also eats other inedible objects, because another form of pica may also be present. He also notes the other complaints of the patient or identifies them through a physical examination. Specific tests are not available for diagnosing pagophagy. The doctor does conduct a blood test

Treatment of Pagophagy

  1. It is necessary to include enough iron in the diet / Source: Jill111, Pixabay Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency complications with chewing ice

  1. Continuous chewing on ice will damage teeth and gums. The great pressure of constantly biting ice causes damage to the tooth enamel, which leads to cavities (tooth decay). Furthermore, a low iron level in the blood also leads to possible complications. Iron is needed to transport oxygen in the red blood cells. A lack of iron can cause serious complications in the long run, such as heart disease, pregnancy complications, growth retardation in children and an increased risk of infections.

  2. Continuous chewing on ice will damage teeth and gums. The great pressure of constantly biting on ice causes damage to the tooth enamel, which leads to cavities (tooth decay). Furthermore, a low iron level in the blood also leads to possible complications. Iron is needed to transport oxygen in the red blood cells. A lack of iron can cause serious complications in the long run, such as heart disease, pregnancy complications, growth retardation in children and an increased risk of infections.



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