Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Background Information

Iron-deficiency anemia is a common anemia characterized by the low RBC count or hemoglobin levels) caused by dietary deficiency and/or malabsorption of iron, and/or iron loss from internal bleeding which can originate from a range of sources such as the intestinal, uterine or urinary tract.
Iron deficiency causes approximately half of all anemia cases worldwide, and affects women more often than men.
This condition can surface if: 
  • The body does not produce adequate RBCs
  • Loss of RBCs more rapidly than they can be replaced probably due to bleeding
Often children in developing countries suffer from iron-deficiency anemia due to parasitic worms infection: hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms. These parasitic worms can inflict intestinal bleeding, which is not easily traceable in faeces, and is especially damaging to growing children. Malaria, hookworms and vitamin A deficiency are most common causes to this condition during pregnancy in most underdeveloped countries. For women after 50 years old, chronic gastrointestinal bleeding from non-parasitic causes, such as gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers or gastrointestinal cancer are the most common cause of this condition.
Clinical Observations of PBFs
  • Low Hemoglobin and Hematocrit value
  • Increased RDW --> Anisocytosis
  • Low MCV (high number of abnormally small red blood cells) --> Microcytic RBCs
  • Low MCH and/or MCHC (Low hemoglobin --> Hypochromic)
  • Poikilocytosis: A plethora of variably-shaped RBCs - Target cells, hypochromic microcytic RBCs, Tear-Drop cells, elliptocytes and occasionally small numbers of nucleated RBCs.
  • platelet count is slightly above the high limit of normal (This is usually due to the proportionally reduced number of RBCs)


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