What is Iron Deficiency Anemia: Causes, Symptoms and Test

Dr. Vigneswary Ayyappan

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vigneswary Ayyappan

General Physician

4 min read


Wondering if you have iron deficiency anemia? Detect it easily using an iron deficiency anemia test and symptoms like chest pain. Read on to know what is iron deficiency anemia and how to treat it.

Key Takeaways

  • Iron deficiency anemia restricts proper oxygen supply in your blood
  • Iron deficiency anemia diagnosis can be done using a simple blood test
  • Iron deficiency anemia can be fatal if you don’t change your diet

Globally, almost 50% of anemia is linked to iron deficiency. Iron deficiency anemia also ranks #9 on the list of life-threatening diseases and is the root cause of almost 8,41,000 deaths and 3,50,57,000 disabilities all across the world [1]. The number is alarming, so the problem needs to be tackled from its root. So, let’s understand this deficiency a little closely.  

What is iron deficiency anemia? 

Though iron deficiency anemia is a common health disorder, it should not be treated lightly as it can be fatal. Iron is a very important substance that your body needs in adequate quantity for proper functioning [2].  

Iron is required to produce hemoglobin, which in turn transports oxygen to every organ of the body. So, it lood leading to several imbalances and functional anomalies. 

Additional Read: Anemia: Types, CausesIron deficiency anemia risk

Iron deficiency anemia: What are the major signs? 

Since this deficiency is linked to disrupted oxygen supply within the body, one of the evident symptoms of this problem is a constant feeling of tiredness. Decreased oxygen supply all across the body will put undue pressure on your overall well-being and will constantly make you feel sluggish and exhausted.  

Breathing difficulty and chest pain are other markers of iron deficiency anemia. Apart from this, the other prominent signs are pounding in the ears, headache, hair loss, and pale and brittle skin. These signs are predominately evident in cases when it is moderate. However, the magnitude of the symptoms may vary or increase in case of a severe deficiency.  

How can iron deficiency anemia be treated? 

The symptoms of the disorder can be either mild or severe, and accordingly, doctors plan out the iron deficiency anemia treatment. Usually, doctors will prescribe you supplements to boost the iron content in your blood. However, in most cases, the physician will advise you to complement this with a healthy balanced diet.  

This may include iron-rich food such as meat, poultry, leafy vegetables, and the like. Most people need 2 to 5mg of iron per kg of their body weight every day. So, depending on the exact deficiency, your physician will plan your supplement and food intake to revive the levels faster. 

Iron Deficiency Anemia

What causes iron deficiency anemia? 

It is caused by a reduced iron level in the blood, which can be a direct implication of blood loss. This is common for women experiencing heavy menstrual flow or with people suffering from ulcers. You may also get this condition if you do not consume sufficient iron in your meals. Apart from these, if you have intestinal disorders like celiac disease, your body may fail to absorb iron, which can lead to iron deficiency anemia. 

Additional Read: What a Full Body Test Entails

How to detect iron deficiency anemia? 

If doctors suspect iron deficiency by studying your symptoms, they may advise you to take an iron deficiency anemia test. As part of the iron deficiency anemia diagnosis, in most cases, a complete blood count test is enough to understand the iron score in your blood.  

Further, if your hemoglobin score is too low, then the doctor may advise you to take a specialized test to detect the iron composition at a molecular level. In that case, the total iron binding capacity, serum ferritin, and transferrin are measured. Another pointer denoting low iron in the blood is by way of the WBC and platelet count. Usually, if you are suffering from iron deficiency anemia, your platelet count will be high as compared to a low WBC count.  

Now that you know the importance of the anemia test, you can schedule this and other lab tests like a vitamin deficiency test with ease on Bajaj Finserv Health. With the help of this platform, you can get your samples collected remotely without having to visit a lab. This way, you can track important health markers and indications of anemia on the go and tackle its onset with ease.   

Further, to keep your tests and health-related expenses within budget, you can sign for health plans under Aarogya Care. For instance, choose any Complete Health Solution medical policy to enjoy benefits like a wide partner network and discounts, high coverage for all your health-related costs, free unlimited doctor consultations, reimbursements on lab tests, and more. Sign up for all this and more with the click of a button, and say yes to better health!

Published on 7 Jun 2022Last updated on 30 Dec 2022
  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17016951/
  2. https://www.hematology.org/education/patients/anemia/iron-deficiency

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Vigneswary Ayyappan

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vigneswary Ayyappan

, MBBS 1 , General Physician 1

Dr.Vigneswary Ayyappan Is a General Physician Based out of Chennai and having 6+ years experiences. She has done her MBBS in Bharath University, Chennai. And have Better approach in pediatrics, geriatric and counselling. Worked under various department ranging from out patient ward, home care treatment etc.


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