Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron Deficiency Anemia is a topic covered in the Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics.

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General Principles

  • Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia in the ambulatory setting and is usually a chronic microcytic anemia with a low reticulocyte count.
  • The most common causes of iron deficiency anemia are blood loss (e.g., menses, GI blood loss), decreased absorption (e.g., achlorhydria, celiac disease, bariatric surgery, Helicobacter pylori infection), and increased iron requirement (e.g., pregnancy).
  • It is important to determine the cause of iron deficiency, and in the absence of menstrual bleeding, evaluation of the GI tract should be performed to identify a potential cause including the possibility of an occult malignancy.

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