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Iron deficiency anemia

Medication Management Diet and Fitness


Iron deficiency anemia is a condition where there is not enough iron in the body. Iron is needed to make healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Common causes of iron deficiency anemia are low dietary iron, pregnancy, and blood loss due to heavy menstrual cycles or internal bleeding.

Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, cold feet and hands, brittle nails, headache, and pale skin. Many people do not experience any symptoms. Iron deficiency anemia is diagnosed with a blood test and is quite common, especially among women.

To prevent or reverse iron deficiency anemia, consume plenty of iron-rich foods. Good sources of iron include liver, red meat, poultry, dried fruits, nuts, beans, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains. Animal sources of iron tend to be absorbed more easily than plant sources. To increase your iron intake further, cook your food in cast iron pans; the food will absorb some of the iron. Eating iron-rich foods along with vitamin C will enhance iron absorption.

If your anemia is due to heavy menstrual or gastrointestinal bleeding, your doctor may treat these conditions as well as the anemia. If your doctor recommends iron supplements, avoid taking them with coffee, tea, or milk, as these foods inhibit iron absorption.

Since iron pills can be hard on the stomach, you can take them with food and increase your fibre and water consumption to prevent constipation. Iron supplements must normally be continued for several months to replenish your body's iron stores.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

Types of anemia

Diet and Fitness


Anemia is a condition that many people associate with low iron levels. While this is a common cause of anemia, there are also other types of anemia that cause the same symptoms, which makes it difficult to distinguish between them.

Anemia is a common blood disorder that occurs when your level of healthy red blood cells is too low. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues and gives blood its red colour. People with anemia often feel tired because there is not enough oxygen being delivered to their tissues.

There are many different types of anemia and depending on the type, symptoms of anemia can be mild to severe and the duration of symptoms can range from brief episodes to a chronic condition. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, headache, and cold hands and feet.

If you have symptoms of anemia, it is very important that you see your doctor in order to determine which type of anemia you have, as some forms can be very serious and potentially life-threatening. The following is an overview on different types of anemia and their causes.

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common form of anemia. It occurs when your iron levels are too low. Your body needs iron in order to make hemoglobin.

Low iron levels can be due to blood loss. Blood loss can occur due to heavy or long menstrual periods, uterine fibroids, ulcers, colon cancer, infections, severe injury, or stomach bleeds (which can sometimes be caused by taking anti-inflammatories too often). Low iron levels could also be caused by a lack of iron in the diet.

Iron-rich foods include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and iron-fortified foods. Alternatively, iron deficiency anemia could be caused by an inability to absorb iron due to conditions like Crohn's disease or celiac disease.

Vitamin deficiency anemia (megaloblastic anemia)

Your body also needs vitamin B12 and folate in order to produce enough red blood cells. Anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency may be called pernicious anemia when the body is not able to absorb vitamin B12 properly or due to intestinal problems. A lack of vitamin B12 in the diet can also cause anemia, but this does not mean you have pernicious anemia.

Anemia due to folate (also called folic acid) deficiency is called folate deficiency anemia and is normally due to problems with absorbing vitamins or a diet lacking in folate. These types of vitamin deficiency anemias are also known as megaloblastic anemia, which refers anemia that causes red blood cells to be larger than their normal size.

Anemia of chronic disease

There are many chronic diseases that can disrupt the body's ability to produce red blood cells. Examples include HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and kidney diseases.

Aplastic anemia

This is a rare type of anemia in which the bone marrow decreases its production of all types of blood cells (including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets). Causes can include autoimmune disorders, a viral infection, cancer treatments, or exposure to toxic chemicals. It may also be inherited.

Sickle cell anemia

This type of anemia is due to a problem with hemoglobin that causes red blood cells to have an abnormal crescent shape. The body destroys these cells quickly and new red blood cells cannot be made fast enough. Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder (i.e., it runs in the family).

Anemias associated with bone marrow disease

Many cancer and cancer-like disorders can cause a decrease in or even a complete shutdown of the blood-cell-making process of the bone marrow. Examples of these diseases include leukemia, myelodysplasia, and multiple myeloma.

Hemolytic anemia

This is due to red blood cells being destroyed faster than the bone marrow can produce new ones. The reason for the premature death of red blood cells may be due to the red blood cells themselves (inherited) or because of outside factors. Underlying causes include blood diseases, autoimmune disorders, and certain medications.

Other anemias

There are other rare forms of anemia, including thalassemia, G6DP deficiency, and hereditary spherocytosis.


Treatment for anemia depends on the type that you have. If it is due to lack of iron, vitamin B12, or folate in the diet, correcting the problem might be as easy as changing your diet or taking supplements.

For more severe forms of anemia, treatment may include blood transfusions, a bone marrow transplant, medications that suppress the immune system, or surgery. If you have symptoms of anemia, see your doctor as soon as possible.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: