Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the body stores of iron, necessary for the production of red blood cells, low or exhausted.

Iron deficiency anemia usually develops slowly because several months before the stock iron in the body is. As the iron stock decreases, the bone marrow gradually less red blood cell production. When iron stores are depleted, the red blood cells not only fewer in number, but also abnormally small in shape.

Iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of anemia and blood loss in adults is the most common cause of iron deficiency. In women after menopause and in men usually indicates iron deficiency bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. In women of childbearing age, the monthly menstruation causes of iron deficiency are. Iron deficiency may further result from foods with too little iron (Minerals and electrolytes: Iron), especially in infants, small children, adolescent girls and pregnant women.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The symptoms of iron deficiency anemia often develop gradually and are the same as in other forms of anemia.

When the diagnosis of anemia "is made, are often performed tests for iron deficiency. When iron deficiency see the red blood cells are usually small and pale. The iron and transferrinespiegels (transferrin, the protein that carries iron when it is not in the red blood cells) of the blood are measured and compared. The most accurate test for iron deficiency is the determination of ferritin in the blood (ferritin is a protein that stores iron). A low ferritin indicates iron deficiency. Sometimes the ferritin be misleading because the mirror may appear incorrectly increased by liver damage, inflammation, infection or cancer. In these cases, the amount can be determined from a protein on the surface of cells that binds to transferrin (transferrin receptor).

Occasionally, the diagnosis of a bone marrow biopsy is needed to determine how much iron to the cells in the bone marrow.


The most common cause of iron deficiency is excessive blood loss. Therefore, as a first step the location of the bleeding to be established.

The daily amount of iron in the diet is usually not enough to iron deficiency due to chronic blood loss supplement. Moreover, the body has only a small stockpile of iron. Therefore, iron deficiency with iron preparations are completed.

It usually takes three to six weeks before the iron deficiency with iron preparations is completed, even if the bleeding has stopped. Iron preparations are usually taken by mouth. Iron preparations are best absorbed by the body when it 30 minutes before breakfast with vitamin C (orange juice or a vitamin C tablet) are taken. Iron preparations should generally be used for 6 months after the blood cell count returns to normal before the body stores iron is replenished. There are periodic blood tests to check whether the patient has enough iron.