Iron deficiency anemia is the result of decreased iron stores in the body caused by inadequate dietary intake of iron, blood loss or poor absorption from the digestive system. It is necessary to find the cause of anemia as it may suggest an underlying pathology like gastric ulcer, diverticulosis, angiodysplasia, parasitic infection (hookworms) and in rare cases gastric cancer or colon cancer.
Patients with anemia may present with fatigue, breathlessness, weakness, chest pain, dizziness and fainting. In patients with anemia, the red blood cells do not carry enough oxygen to the various tissues of the body leading to a wide range of clinical problems.
Diagnosis of anemia is made on the basis of clinical examination and blood tests. Iron deficiency anemia is rarely life threatening but sometimes blood transfusion may be required if it leads to cardiac problems.
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