Iron deficiency anemia

Last revised by Rohit Sharma on 23 Jan 2024

Iron deficiency anemia is a common cause of anemia and a common precipitant to radiological investigation.

Amongst men and postmenopausal women, the incidence in the developed world is around 2%. Among premenopausal women, the incidence is greater and in most cases, investigation is not required.

In addition to the general clinical features of anemia, patients may have koilonychia, atrophic glossitis, and pica for ice (pagophagia) 3. There is also a clinical association with restless legs syndrome 3.

Causes may be related to excessive losses (most common), reduced iron absorption, reduced iron intake, or increased iron requirements 3:

Investigations may include:

  • urinalysis

  • celiac screening

  • endoscopy: upper GI endoscopy (gastroscopy), colonoscopy (or sigmoidoscopy)

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