Iron deficiency anaemia is resulted in by absence of iron, often because of blood ns or pregnancy. It's treated through iron tablets prescribed by a GP and by eating iron-rich foods.

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Check if you have iron deficiency anaemia

Symptoms can include:

tiredness and lack the energyshortness that breathnoticeable heartbeats (heart palpitations)pale skin Less usual symptoms of stole deficiency anaemia

Less usual symptoms of stole deficiency anaemia (that room not usually linked to pregnancy) include:

headacheshearing ringing, buzzing or hissing noises inside her head (tinnitus)food tasting strangefeeling itchya sick tonguehair loss – you notice much more hair coming out as soon as brushing or washing itwanting to eat non-food items, such as record or ice cream (pica)finding it tough to gulp down (dysphagia)painful open sores (ulcers) in the corners of her mouth

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What happens at your appointment

The GP will certainly ask you around your lifestyle and also medical history.

If the factor for the anaemia is no clear, they might order part tests to find out what might be resulting in the symptoms.

They might likewise refer you come a specialist for further checks.

Blood tests for iron deficiency anaemia

The GP will commonly order a full blood count (FBC) test. This will uncover out if the number of red blood cells you have (your red blood cabinet count) is normal.

You do not have to do anything to prepare for this test.

Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common form of anaemia. There are other types, favor vitamin B12 and also folate anaemia, that the blood check will additionally check for.

Treatment because that iron deficiency anaemia

Once the reason you have anaemia has actually been discovered (for example, one ulcer or hefty periods) the GP will recommend treatment.

If the blood test shows your red blood cell counting is low, you'll be prescribed iron tablets to change the stole that's missing from her body.

The prescribed tablets are stronger than the supplements you can buy in pharmacies and supermarkets.

You’ll should take lock for about 6 months. Drinking orange juice after ~ you've bring away a tablet computer may help your body absorb the iron.

Follow the GP’s advice around how to take iron tablets.

Some human being get side impacts when taking iron tablets like:

constipation or diarrhoeatummy painheartburnfeeling sickblack poo

Try acquisition the tablets with or shortly after food to reduce the opportunity of next effects.

It's essential to save taking the tablets, even if you get side effects.

Your GP may lug out repeat blood tests end the next couple of months to check that her iron level is getting earlier to normal.


Keep steel supplement tablet computers out the the reach of children. An overdose of steel in a young child can be fatal.

Things you have the right to do yourself

If your diet is partly bring about your iron deficiency anaemia, her GP will certainly tell friend what foods items are rich in iron therefore you deserve to eat an ext of them.

Eat and drink more:

dark-green leafy vegetables like watercress and curly kalecereals and also bread v extra steel in castle (fortified)meatdried fruit favor apricots, prunes and raisinspulses (beans, peas and also lentils)

Eat and drink less:

teacoffeemilk and also dairyfoods through high levels of phytic acid, such together wholegrain cereals, which deserve to stop her body soaking up iron from other foods and also pills

Large quantities of this foods and also drinks make it more difficult for your body come absorb iron.

You could be referred to a specialist dietitian if you're finding it hard to encompass iron in her diet.

Causes of iron deficiency anaemia

In pregnancy, steel deficiency anaemia is most regularly caused by a absence of stole in your diet.

Heavy periods and pregnancy are very common causes of iron deficiency anaemia. Hefty periods can be treated with medicine.

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For men and also for females whose periods have stopped, bleeding in the stomach and also intestines is the most common cause of stole deficiency anaemia. This can be resulted in by:

stomach ulcersinflammation the the bowel or food pipeline (oesophagus)pilescancers that the bowel or stomach – however this is much less common

Any other problems or actions that reason blood ns could also lead come iron deficiency anaemia.

If stole deficiency anaemia is not treated

Untreated stole deficiency anaemia:

can make you much more at danger of illness and infection – a lack of stole affects the immune systemmay rise your threat of developing complications that impact the heart or lung – such together an abnormally fast heartbeat (tachycardia) or heart failurein pregnancy, can reason a better risk of complications before and after birth

page last reviewed: 29 January 2021 next review due: 29 January 2024