Anemia, iron deficiency

Other names: Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency Anemia is a common type of Anemia — a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's tissues. As the name implies, iron deficiency Anemia is due to insufficient iron. Without enough iron, your body can't produce enough of a substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen (hemoglobin). Iron deficiency Anemia may leave you tired and short of breath. You can usually correct iron deficiency Anemia with iron supplementation. Sometimes additional tests or treatments for iron deficiency Anemia are necessary, especially if your doctor suspects that you're bleeding internally.


Initially, iron deficiency Anemia can be so mild that it goes unnoticed. But as the body becomes more deficient in iron and Anemia worsens, the signs and symptoms intensify. Iron deficiency Anemia symptoms may include extreme fatigue, pale skin, weakness, shortness of breath, chest pain, frequent infections, headache, dizziness or lightheadedness, cold hands and feet, inflammation or soreness of your tongue, brittle nails, fast heartbeat, unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances like ice, dirt or starch, poor appetite (especially in infants and children with iron deficiency Anemia), and an uncomfortable tingling or crawling feeling in your legs (Restless legs syndrome).


If you or your child develops signs and symptoms that suggest iron deficiency Anemia, see your doctor. Iron deficiency Anemia isn't something to self-diagnose or treat. So see your doctor for a diagnosis rather than taking iron supplements on your own.


Iron deficiency Anemia occurs when your body doesn't have enough iron to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that gives blood its red color and enables the red blood cells to carry oxygenated blood throughout your body. Causes of iron deficiency Anemia include blood loss, a lack of iron in your diet, an inability to absorb iron (e.g., due to conditions like Celiac disease), and pregnancy.

Risk factors

Groups at increased risk of iron deficiency Anemia include women (due to menstruation), infants and children (especially those with poor diets), vegetarians (who may not consume enough iron-rich foods), and frequent blood donors.


Left untreated, iron deficiency Anemia can lead to complications such as heart problems, problems during pregnancy (like premature births), growth problems in infants and children, and increased susceptibility to infections.



  1. What is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Iron Deficiency Anemia is a condition where there's a lack of healthy red blood cells due to insufficient iron.

  1. What are the symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Symptoms include fatigue, pale skin, weakness, shortness of breath, chest pain among others.

  1. Who is at risk for Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Women with heavy periods, infants/children with poor diets, vegetarians and frequent blood donors are at higher risk.

  1. How is Iron Deficiency Anemia diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves tests like checking red blood cell size/color and levels of hemoglobin/ferritin.

  1. How is Iron Deficiency Anemia treated?

Treatment typically involves taking iron supplements and addressing underlying causes if necessary.

  1. What complications can arise from untreated Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Complications may include heart problems, issues during pregnancy and growth problems in children.

  1. How can one prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia in infants?

Feeding babies breast milk or iron-fortified formula for the first year can help prevent Anemia.

  1. What foods are rich in iron?

Foods rich in iron include red meat, poultry, seafood, beans among others.

  1. How does vitamin C help with iron absorption?

Vitamin C helps enhance the body's absorption of dietary iron when consumed alongside high-iron foods.

  1. When should one seek medical attention for suspected Iron Deficiency Anemia?

It's important to consult a doctor if experiencing symptoms suggestive of Iron Deficiency Anemia rather than self-treating with supplements.