Iron deficiency anemia - Anemia - iron deficiency
The most common cause of anemia is iron deficiency. Iron is needed to form hemoglobin. Iron is mostly stored in the body in the hemoglobin. About 30 percent of iron is also stored as ferritin and hemosiderin in the bone marrow, spleen, and liver.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Iron deficiency anemia is the most common form of
anemia. Approximately 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of
men are iron deficient.
Iron is an essential component of
hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment in the blood.
normally obtained through the food in the diet and by recycling
from old red blood cells. Without it, the blood cannot carry oxygen
effectively -- and oxygen is needed for the normal functioning of every
cell in the body.
Anemia develops slowly after the normal stores of iron have been depleted in the body and in the bone marrow. Women, in general, have smaller stores of iron than men and have increased loss through menstruation, placing them at higher risk for anemia than men.
In men and postmenopausal women,
anemia is usually caused by
gastrointestinal blood loss associated with
ulcers, the use of aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
medications (NSAIDS), or certain types of cancer (esophagus, stomach,
Signs and tests