Iron Deficiency Anemia
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DRG Category: 812
Mean LOS: 3.7 days
Description MEDICAL: Red Blood Cell Disorders without CC
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA), the most common form of anemia, is a condition in which there is a decrease in normal body stores of iron and hemoglobin levels. IDA is caused by inadequate intake of iron, inadequate storage of iron, excessive loss of iron, or some combination of these conditions. The red blood cells (RBCs), which become pale (hypochromic) and small (microcytic), have a decreased ability to transport oxygen in sufficient quantities to meet body needs. Anemia is defined as a decrease in circulating RBC mass; the usual criteria for anemia are hemoglobin of less than 12 g/dL with a hematocrit less than 36% in women and hemoglobin less than 14 g/dL with a hematocrit less than 41% in men.
Generally, IDA is more common in people who are economically disadvantaged because of the high cost of a well-balanced diet with iron-rich foods. Complications from IDA include infection and pneumonia. For patients suffering from pica (the urge to eat clay and other inappropriate items), lead poisoning may result from increased intestinal absorption of lead. Although it is a rare condition, Plummer-Vinson syndrome (IDA associated with difficulty swallowing, enlarged spleen, and spooning of the nails) may occur in severe cases of IDA, especially in middle-aged women who have recently had their teeth extracted.