Ferropenic anemia: What is it? Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

It is one of the many types of conditions characterized by a significant decrease in the presence of healthy red blood cells in our body.

These red blood cells are responsible for oxygenating the tissues of our body.


To know this, you should see if you present the following symptoms:

  • Tiredness and lack of energy.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Notable heartbeat (heart palpitations).
  • Pale skin.

This other tells you to see a GP if you have symptoms of iron deficiency anemia. Remember that a simple blood test will also confirm if you are anemic.

Your GP will ask about your lifestyle and medical history. If the reason for the anemia is not apparent (such as pregnancy), your GP may order some tests to find out what might be causing the symptoms. They can also refer you to a specialist for additional reviews.

Blood test for iron-deficiency anemia

Your GP will usually request a complete blood count (FBC) test. This will determine if the number of red blood cells (your red blood cell count) is standard.


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

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. The blood test will also look for others, such as lack of vitamin B12 and folate anemia.

Causes of iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia (iron deficiency anemia) is caused by a lack of iron, often due to blood loss or pregnancy. It is treated with iron tablets prescribed by a family doctor and by eating iron-rich foods.

If you are pregnant, iron-deficiency anemia is most often caused by a lack of iron in your diet.

Heavy periods and pregnancy are prevalent causes of iron deficiency anemia. Heavy periods can be treated with medications.

Iron deficiency anemia can be a sign of bleeding in the stomach and intestines caused by:

  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Swelling the large intestine ( colitis ) or the food pipe (esophagus).
  • Hemorrhoids .
  • Bowel or stomach cancers, but this is less common.

Any other condition or action that causes blood loss could lead to iron deficiency anemia.


Once you have found why you have anemia, for example, an ulcer or heavy periods, your GP will recommend a treatment.

If your blood test shows that your red blood cell count is low (deficient), you will be prescribed iron tablets to replace the missing iron in your body.

Prescription tablets are more potent than supplements that you can buy in pharmacies and supermarkets.

You will have to take them for about six months. Drinking orange juice after taking it can help your body absorb iron.

Some people have side effects such as:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Stomachache.
  • Acidity.
  • Feeling sick.
  • Black stools

Try taking the tablets with or shortly after the foods to reduce side effects. It is essential to keep taking the pills, even with side effects.

Keep iron supplement tablets out of the reach of children. An overdose of iron in a small child can be fatal.

Your GP can repeat blood tests over the next few months to check that your iron levels are back to normal.

How can you treat yourself?

If your diet is partly the cause of your iron deficiency anemia, your family doctor will tell you what foods are rich in iron so that you can eat more of them.

Eat and drink more:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables like watercress and kale.
  • Cereals and bread with additional iron in them (fortified.
  • Meat.
  • Beans, peas and lentils.
  • Other foods have a good source of iron.

Eat and drink less:

  • Has.
  • Café.
  • Milk and dairy products

Foods with high levels of phytic acids, such as whole grains, can keep your body from absorbing iron from other foods and pills.

Large amounts of these foods and beverages make it more difficult for your body to absorb iron.

You may be referred to a dietitian if you find it challenging to include iron in your diet.

If you leave your iron deficiency anemia untreated

Anemia due to untreated iron deficiency:

  • It can increase the risk of disease and infection, and the lack of iron affects the immune system.
  • You can increase your risk of developing complications that affect the heart or lungs, such as an abnormally rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) or heart failure.
  • It can cause a higher risk of complications in pregnancy, before and after birth.