Siamak T. Nabili, MD, MPH
Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Anemia facts*
- What is anemia?
- What causes anemia?
- Can inadequate iron cause anemia?
- What about acute (sudden) blood loss as a cause of anemia?
- What are other causes of anemia?
- Can anemia be hereditary?
- What are the symptoms of anemia?
- How is anemia diagnosed?
- What is a complete blood cell (CBC) count?
- How is blood collected for a complete blood cell (CBC)?
- What is the red blood cell (RBC) count?
- What is hemoglobin?
- What does a low hemoglobin level mean?
- What is the hematocrit?
- How is hematocrit determined?
- How is anemia treated?
- What are the complications of anemia?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for anemia?
- Blood and Bleeding Disorders FAQs
- Find a local Hematologist in your town
Can inadequate iron cause anemia?
Absolutely! As a matter of fact, iron deficiency is a very common cause of anemia. This is because iron is major component of hemoglobin and essential for its proper function. Chronic blood loss due to any reason is the main cause of low iron level in the body as it depletes the body's iron stores to compensate for the ongoing loss of iron. Anemia that is due to low iron levels is called iron deficiency anemia.
Young women are likely to have low grade iron deficiency anemia because of the loss of blood each month through normal menstruation. This is generally without any major symptoms as the blood loss is relatively small and temporary.
Another common reason for iron deficiency anemia can be due to recurring or small ongoing bleeding, for instance from colon cancer or from stomach ulcers. Stomach ulcer bleeding may be induced by medications, even very common over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Slow and chronic oozing from these ulcers can lead to loss of iron. Gradually, this could result in anemia. In infants and young children, iron deficiency anemia is most often due to a diet lacking iron.
Interpretation of CBC may lead to clues to suggest this type of anemia. For instance, iron deficiency anemia usually presents with low mean corpuscular volume (microcytic anemia) in addition to low hemoglobin.
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