What causes an iron deficiency?

Updated: Aug 04, 2019
  • Author: James L Harper, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Either diminished absorbable dietary iron or excessive loss of body iron can cause iron deficiency. Diminished absorption usually is due to an insufficient intake of dietary iron in an absorbable form. Hemorrhage is the most common cause of excessive loss of body iron, but it can occur with hemoglobinuria from intravascular hemolysis. Malabsorption of iron is relatively uncommon in the absence of small bowel disease (sprue, celiac disease, regional enteritis) or previous GI surgery.


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