Iron Deficiency Anemia

What is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Chemistry Topics
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4 min readJan 7, 2023


Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of health condition in which your blood doesn’t have an adequate amount of healthy red blood cells due to a deficiency of iron, folic acid (folate), and vitamin B12. Red blood cells contain an iron-containing protein called hemoglobin which carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Excessive blood loss or bone marrow's unable to make sufficient red blood cells are the primary reasons that cause anemia.

Iron Deficiency Anemia Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

According to World Health Organization (WHO), iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutritional disorder across the world suffered mainly by women. A diet rich in iron, B vitamins, and vitamin C may help to reduce iron deficiency in your body and prevent anemia.

Symptoms of Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency may develop when the food we intake does not contain a sufficient amount of iron. A deficiency of folate and vitamin B12 may also impact the ability to make red blood cells.

Extreme fatigue is the most symptom of anemia but depending on the cause of anemia, you may or may not see the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia. The main signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia may include,

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain
  • Headache, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue

Food Sources of Iron

Iron reached foods and supplements can reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia. Therefore, you may choose the following foods in your daily diet for treating such health conditions,

  • Red meat, pork, and poultry
  • Seafood
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Dried fruit (raisins and apricots)
  • Iron-fortified cereals (bread and pasta)

Foods that contain high levels of vitamin C may also help in the absorption of iron in your body. The food that helps to reduce iron deficiency anemia may include:

  • Broccoli
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Leafy greens
  • Melons
  • Oranges
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Tomatoes

Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia happens when your body does not have enough iron to produce hemoglobin which is the part of red blood cells that gives your blood red color. The main causes of iron deficiency anemia may include,

  • Blood loss
  • A lack of iron in your diet
  • Lower absorption of iron
  • Pregnancy

Blood loss

Iron is the main part of your red blood cells. Therefore, if you suffer from blood loss, the density of iron in your blood may decrease and causes iron deficiency anemia. Women with heavy periods may suffer from iron deficiency anime. It also causes due to chronic blood loss such as from a peptic ulcer, a hiatal hernia, a colon polyp, or colorectal cancer.

A lack of iron in your diet

A lack of iron in your daily diet may also cause iron deficiency anemia. Your body regularly intakes iron from the foods which you eat daily.

If you consume too little iron reached food, the level of iron in your blood may decrease. Therefore, a lack of iron-rich foods such as meat, eggs, and leafy green vegetables in our daily diet may harm our bodies for proper growth and development.

Lower absorption of iron

Everyone may not absorb a sufficient amount of iron from their daily diet due to various health disorders. An intestinal disorder such as celiac disease may affect the ability to absorb iron from digested food that we eat. Therefore, lower absorption of iron from foods can cause iron deficiency anemia.


Iron deficiency is a common problem for most pregnant women because their iron stores need to serve their own increased blood volume as well as be a source of hemoglobin for the growing fetus. Therefore, without iron and folic acid supplementation, iron deficiency anemia may occur in many pregnant women.


Mild iron deficiency anemia does not cause any complications but if untreated, it may cause various health problems such as heart problems, problems during pregnancy, and growth problems.

  • Heart problems: Iron deficiency anemia may lead to a rapid or irregular heartbeat because anemic blood does not carry sufficient oxygen which needs in your whole body. It may cause heart failure in people.
  • Problems during pregnancy: In pregnant women, it may cause premature births and low birth weight babies.
  • Growth problems: Iron deficiency anemia can cause delayed growth and development in infants and children.


Iron-deficiency anemia — Wikipedia

Iron Deficiency Anemia — StatPearls — NCBI Bookshelf



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