Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is the most common form of nutritional anemia worldwide. It is amongst the five leading cause of morbidity in humans, especially in women.  IDA is a global health concern, which affects the children, women and the elderly population.


It is variable and causes because of several risk factors like:

  1. Increased demand – Infants, preschool children, adolescents and in pregnancy (2nd and 3rd trimester)
  2. Decreased intake – Poverty and malnutrition, Iron poor vegetarian diet, etc.
  3. Decreased absorption – Cereal based diet, helicobacter pylori infection, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) etc.
  4. Chronic blood loss – Hookworm and schistosomiasis infections, haemorrhoids, Drug-induced (e.g. salicylates, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,) etc.

Diagnosis of IDA (1)

  1. History and Clinical Examination
    • History for fatigue, alopecia, pica etc.
    • In the examination pallor, nail changes, atrophic tongue papillae, glossitis is seen in these patients.
  2. Complete blood count (CBC)
    • Low Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV) (<80 fl) and Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH) < 27 pg. is seen in patients of IDA
    • The blood smear shows characteristic microcytic hypochromic RBCs or pencil cells.
    • Low MCV and elevated RDW can be used as sufficient evidence to start iron therapy
  3. Serum Ferritin
    • It is a marker of iron stores in the body.
    • Low serum ferritin values are regarded as the best test for confirmation of iron deficiency in pregnancy (<70ug/l)

For correcting the anemia variety of oral and injectable irons are available
Choice of iron will depend on patient’s condition and doctor’s opinion.