Close this search box.


Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is prevalent globally.
Iron deficiency anemia is prevalent globally.

When there is a decrease in the count of red blood cells or the lower quantity of hemoglobin in the blood, the condition is called Anemia. Anemia may occur due to various reasons. Iron and protein are the chief constituents of hemoglobin. If there is insufficient iron in our diet, iron availability for the formation of hemoglobin will decrease. Likewise, the deficiency will occur in malabsorption or excess loss of iron from the body. The reduced availability will, in turn, affect the amount of hemoglobin in our body and the number of red blood cells. Anemia caused in this way is called Iron deficiency anemia.

Iron deficiency anemia is prevalent globally. It is one of the most significant causes of anemia. People of all ages and both sexes are affected by it, but adolescent age girls are the most vulnerable.

Causes and risk factors

The following causes and risk factors may decrease the availability of iron in the body:-

Blood loss

Loss of blood from the body may be acute or chronic. Blood is lost during menstrual bleeding and in various conditions such as peptic ulcers, intestinal parasites, gastrointestinal bleeding, piles, and colon cancer. The loss, in turn, results in iron deficiency anemia.

Parasitic diseases

Some worms, such as hookworms, may be present in the intestine. Such worms suck blood from the intestines and also decrease the absorption of iron from the diet. These infections are more common in children.

Menstrual bleeding

It is a common cause of iron deficiency anemia in young and adolescent women. During menses, more iron is lost from the body in more blood loss. This is more pronounced if you experience heavy and prolonged menstrual periods.

Insufficient dietary iron

We cannot store iron in large amounts inside our bodies. The loss of iron is compensated by the absorption of iron from the diet. If your diet lacks iron, it may result in iron deficiency anemia.

Insufficient iron absorption

Some diseases, like celiac disease, affect the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients, including iron, from the diet. This causes the body to develop iron deficiency anemia.


During pregnancy, the body’s nutrient requirements increase as the mother feeds the growing fetus. If there is insufficient iron intake in the body, iron deficiency anemia may develop.

Signs and symptoms

If you have mild iron deficiency anemia, most likely, you will not notice any symptoms. As the severity of anemia increases, the symptoms become more prominent. The symptoms include:

  • Generalized weakness and fatigue: Fatigue occurs due to the reduced number of red blood cells to transmit oxygen to various parts of the body
  • Pica: It is the craving for things such as soil.
  • Cold hands and feet.
  • Dizziness and reduced concentration.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Common signs which may be noticed by others in you include:
    1. Pale skin: Your skin will turn pale due to insufficient oxygen supply.
    2. Cracking of skin of angle of mouth.
    3. Spooning of nails: It is an abnormal shape of nails.

You should see your GP or female physician if you experience these symptoms.

Diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia

Your doctor will diagnose iron-deficiency anemia based on your medical history of symptoms and physical examination. He will perform some blood tests. He will also examine you to find the underlying cause of anemia.

Blood tests

It consists of taking a small amount of blood from your vein and performing various tests.

  • Peripheral blood film: It visualizes blood film under a microscope to detect abnormalities in blood cells.
  • Complete blood count: This test will detect if you have a reduction in the number of red blood cells, hemoglobin levels, or mean corpuscular volume.
  •  Iron: These blood tests measure the concentration of iron in the blood. Iron deficiency anemia will be less than ten micromol/liter for both males and females.
  • Ferritin level: It is the protein that helps to preserve iron in the body. Low levels of ferritin indicate iron deficiency anemia. It will be less than ten micrograms/liter for both males and females. Normal ferritin levels are 40 – 300 micrograms/liter for males and 20 – 200 micrograms/liter for females.
Test to find the cause of the Iron deficiency
  • Gastroesophageal Endoscopy

It consists of a flexible tube and an attached camera called an endoscope. With the endoscope’s help, your doctor may visualize the esophagus and the stomach’s inner lining to detect bleeding.

  • Colonoscopy

Sometimes, the cause of loss of blood may be in the colon. In this, a camera-fitted tube may be passed from the anus to observe the cause of bleeding.

Lifestyle changes and home remedies

A diet rich in iron Iron-rich food can help you correct any minor iron deficiency. Foods that are rich in iron are –

  • Green leafy vegetables, including spinach, kale, lettuce, and mustard.
  • Pulses and beans, including lentils, garden peas, fava beans, and kidney beans.
  • Fish.
  • Iron-fortified cereals and bread.
  • Eggs.
  • Dried fruits and nuts.
  • Meat, including pork, beef, poultry, and organs, especially the liver.
  • Fruits such as apple, pomegranate, and guava.

You must have a balanced diet containing food from all the major groups.

Green leafy vegetables, including spinach, kale, lettuce prevent Iron deficiency anaemia.
Green leafy vegetables, including spinach, kale, lettuce prevent Iron deficiency anaemia.


Intravenous procedures

Your doctor may recommend them if iron deficiency anemia is severe and cannot tolerate oral iron supplement pills.

● Intravenous iron therapy

In this procedure, iron salt is directly put into the blood vessels. Intravenous iron therapy helps in the quick recovery of anemia. It may cause side effects like headaches or nausea, but they usually disappear after one or two days.

● Blood transfusion

Blood is transfused only if there is a severe iron deficiency anemia complication. The transfusion quickly relieves anemia.

Treatment of the underlying cause

  • An endoscopy or colonoscopy may be performed to sew a bleeding ulcer.
  • Erythropoietin may be administered to increase red blood cells in the case of kidney failure.


  • Have a balanced diet with a sufficient amount of green leafy vegetables.
  • Don’t drink tea or coffee during meals.
  • Increase iron intake by increasing the iron-rich diet before planning to get pregnant. Anemia may aggravate during pregnancy.
  • Get screened – Screening of kids and pregnant women can help early detection of iron deficiency anemia.
  • Avoid painkillers like ibuprofen if you already have gastric ulcers.
  • You must be extra careful if you are a vegetarian, as the body cannot fully absorb vegetarian iron.

Q1:  What is the main reason for anemia?

Anemia can have various causes, but the most common one is iron deficiency, which is essential for producing hemoglobin in red blood cells. Other factors contributing to anemia include vitamin deficiencies (such as B12 and folate), chronic diseases, genetic conditions, and certain medications. It’s like a team effort – when one player (like iron) is missing, the team (your body) struggles to perform at its best.

Q2: What food is highest in iron?

Some top contenders for iron-rich foods include red meat, poultry, fish, lentils, beans, tofu, fortified cereals, and dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach. It’s like assembling a superhero squad for your iron intake – variety is the key to ensuring you get enough of this essential mineral!

  1. NHS
  3. NHS Inform
    Illness and conditions
  4. Mayo Clinic
    Symptom and causes


Have proper medication to prevent severe attack of Asthma.


Common Conditions Definition Signs Trigger Diagnosis Treatment Home remedies Prevention Living with asthma FAQs The World Health Organization says that

Most of the time, bee sting causes minor reactions like pain, redness, and swelling around the sting site.

Bee sting

Common Conditions Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Lifestyle Changes Medical Treatment Surgery Prevention A bee sting is a common outdoor hazard and

Send Us A Message

Scroll to Top