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Iron Anemia: Symptoms, Causes
and Treatment

Anemia is a decrease in number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. However, it can include decreased oxygen-binding ability of each hemoglobin molecule due to deformity or lack in numerical development as in some other types of hemoglobin deficiency.

There are many types of anemia. All are very different in their causes and treatments. Iron anemia, also called iron-deficiency anemia or simple anemia, is the most common type.

The pale hand of a woman with severe anemia (right) in comparison to the normal hand of her husband (left).
Attribution: James Heilman, MD.


  • Easy tiring, dizziness, headache, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath or exertion.
  • Pale skin, nails, and lips.
  • A sensitivity to cold.
  • Poor appetite and cravings for clay, ice, or starch.
  • Other symptoms include white or coated tongue, pale tissue beneath fingernails, and white skin inside the lower eyelid (when it is pulled down).


Iron deficiency anemia occurs when there is not enough iron in the body. This can occur when the body is not absorbing enough iron from the food, during chronic blood loss, pregnancy, menstruation, hemorrhoids or ulcers, diverticular disease, liver damage, surgery, repeated pregnancies, periods of rapid growth, and aging. Infections, hemorrhage, and nutritional deficiencies can also cause it.

Infants and young children on a milk diet, without minerals and essential fatty acids, are prone to anemia. Others include the elderly who eat narrowed diets and pregnant women because of their increased nutritional needs.


Iron anemia is very treatable with diet changes and iron supplements.

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