Are you at risk?
Iron Deficiency Anaemia affects one fourth of the population, with certain people at greater risk.8
Once your doctor has diagnosed you with anaemia it is important for you to understand the cause. Iron Deficiency Anaemia can result from various causes.
The main causes include low dietary intake of iron, decreased iron absorption due to gastrointestinal conditions and blood loss.3
Low intake of iron2
• Celiac disease
• Duodenal resection/gastric bypass surgery
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Helicobacter pylori gastritis
• Autoimmune gastritis
• High intake of phytates, (legumes, nut, whole grain cereals, unprocessed bran) polyphenols (herbal tea's, coffee, cocoa, red wine)9
Significant loss of iron2
• Meno(metro)rrhagia (myoma, endometriosis, bleeding disorders)
• Uterine cancer
• Upper gastrointestinal blood loss
Esophagitis, erosive gastritis
• Lower gastrointestinal blood loss
Hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal ulcers
Angiodysplasia (lesions in the stomach causing gastrointestinal bleeding)
Inflammatory bowel disease
• Surgery, trauma, childbirth, blood donation
• Prolonged nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use
• Parasitic infection (eg, hookworm, tapeworm)
Increased demand of iron2
• Pregnancy, lactation
• Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (in chronic kidney disease, chemotherapy-induced anaemia)
• Idiopathic pulmonary hemosiderosis (repeated bleeding in the lungs)
• Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (genetic disorder that leads to blood vessel formation in the skin, that leads to abnormal bleeding)
• Coagulation disorders, platelet dysfunction
• Congenital iron deficiency
2. Jimenez, K., Kulnigg-Dabsch, S., et al. Management of Iron Deficiency anaemia. Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2015, 11(4):241-250.
3. Johnson-Wimbley, T.D. and Graham, D.Y. Diagnosis and management of iron deficiency anaemia in the 21st century. Ther Adv Gastroenterol 2011, 4(3):177-184.
8. Anaemia in South Africa: the past, the present and the future. S Afr J Clin Nutr, 2013, 26(4): 166-167.
9. Saunders, A.W., Craig, W.J., et al. Iron and vegetarian diets. MJA Open, 2012, 2:11-16.