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Iron-Deficiency Anemia

(Reduced Iron in Blood)

Definition

Anemia is a low level of healthy red blood cells (RBC). RBCs carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron is needed to build healthy RBCs. Lower RBC counts mean the body is not getting enough oxygen.
Red Blood Cells
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Iron makes a critical component of red blood cells.
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Causes

Factors that play a role include:

Risk Factors

These factors may increase your chance of developing this condition:

Symptoms

Most people with mild anemia have no symptoms. In those who do have them, anemia may cause:

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids and waste products may be tested. This can be done with:

Treatment

Treatments may include:

Iron Supplements

Iron can be taken as a supplement or as part of a multivitamin. Iron comes in many "salt" forms. Ferrous salts are better absorbed than ferric salts. Ferrous sulfate is the cheapest and most commonly used iron salt. Slow-release or coated products may cause less stomach problems. However, they may not be absorbed as well. Some products contain vitamin C to improve absorption. Talk to your doctor, though, because your iron level could get too high.

Iron-Fortified Cereal

Your doctor may recommend that you feed your baby iron-fortified cereal.

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of having anemia:
Ask your doctor if your infant is getting enough iron. General guidelines include:

RESOURCES

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics http://healthychildren.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

Iron. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/biomedical-libraries/natural-alternative-treatments. Updated August 2013. Accessed September 23, 2015.

Iron deficiency in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 9, 2015. Accessed September 23, 2015.

Iron deficiency in children (infancy through adolescence). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 22, 2015. Accessed September 23, 2015.

Iron fortification of infant formulas. Pediatrics. 1999;104:119-123.

US Preventive Services Task Force. The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Report of the United States Preventive Services Task Force. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2002.

US Preventive Services Task Force. The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Report of the United States Preventive Services Task Force. AHRQ Publication No. 06-0588; Rockville, MD: 2006.

10/12/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Baker R, Greer F, et al. Diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children (0-3 years of age). Pediatrics. 2010;126(5):1040-1050.

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