About Iron Deficiency Anaemia
Iron deficiency anaemia is very common affecting up to 5% of men and post-menopausal women. The most common cause of iron deficiency is heavy menstrual periods with up to 10% of women affected at some stage in their lives. Iron deficiency anaemia is also common in pregnancy because of the requirements of the developing baby for iron.
There can be many other causes of iron deficiency, including bleeding into the gut. This is a common cause in older people and can be due to a variety of conditions such as peptic ulcers or colitis. Conditions that affect the absorption from the gut such as coeliac disease can also reduce iron intake and lead to anaemia.
The most common symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia include:
- lethargy (lack of energy)
- shortness of breath (dyspnoea)
- palpitations (irregular heartbeat)
- rapid pulse
- pale complexion
Other less common symptoms can include:
- tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
- an altered sense of taste
- dry, brittle nails or 'spoon nails'
- painful ulcers on the corners of your mouth
- a sore tongue and difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
In many people iron deficiency anaemia will develop slowly and there may be few signs of the illness. The severity of your symptoms may depend on how quickly your anaemia develops, so AnaemiaScreen our home screening test for iron deficiency anaemia, will help you check for the condition.