Table of Contents
- Anemia definition and facts
- What is anemia?
- What are the signs and symptoms of anemia?
- What causes anemia?
- What is iron deficiency anemia?
- What are other types and causes of anemia?
- Can anemia be hereditary?
- How does blood loss cause anemia?
- How is anemia diagnosed?
- What is a complete blood cell (CBC) count?
- How is blood collected for a 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?
- What is the treatment for anemia?
- What are the complications of anemia?
- What is the prognosis for a person with anemia?
What is iron deficiency anemia?
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 a complete blood count test (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.