Iron Deficiency Anemia

Illinois Gastroenterology Group -  - Gastroenterology

Illinois Gastroenterology Group

Gastroenterology located in Arlington Heights, IL & Elk Grove Village, IL

If you’re always tired, cold, and pale, your symptoms could be due to iron-deficiency anemia. Often iron deficiency is due to a problem in your digestive tract. The experienced gastroenterology team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group in Elk Grove and Arlington Heights, Illinois, can identify the cause of your anemia and offer expert treatments to help you absorb more iron and resolve your symptoms. Call Illinois Gastroenterology Group or make an appointment online today.

Iron Deficiency Anemia Q & A

What is Iron-Deficiency Anemia?

Anemia is a blood condition in which you don’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body. 

Your red blood cells need iron to produce hemoglobin, one of the critical substances required to move oxygen through your blood. If you don’t get enough iron, your body can’t make enough hemoglobin, and you develop iron-deficiency anemia.

What Causes Iron-Deficiency Anemia?

A variety of factors can contribute to insufficient iron levels and anemia:

  • Digestive Disorders: You absorb iron through your digestive tract, but a wide range of digestive disorders can interfere with that process. For example, if you have celiac disease or if you’ve had part of your small intestine removed, your body can’t absorb the nutrients it needs, including iron. Gastroenterological problems like peptic ulcers, colon polyps, hiatal hernia, and colorectal cancer can also cause slow, chronic blood loss which contributes to iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Blood Loss: Other types of blood loss can also cause iron-deficiency anemia. For example, women who have heavy menstrual periods can develop anemia. Any traumatic injury that leads to blood loss can also contribute to anemia.
  • Insufficient Iron in Your Diet: Iron is found in a wide range of foods, but if you don’t consume enough products like meat, eggs, and leafy green vegetables, you might become iron deficient. Vegetarians have a higher risk of not eating enough iron-rich foods.

What are the Symptoms of Iron-Deficiency Anemia?

If you have iron-deficiency anemia, you could develop symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Headache
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain or a rapid heartbeat

You could also develop brittle fingernails, a reduced appetite, or a craving for nonfood substances like dirt or ice.

How is Iron-Deficiency Anemia Treated?

Treatment begins with thorough blood testing to diagnose iron-deficiency anemia. Your provider also tests for digestive disorders that could interfere with your iron absorption.

Depending on your needs, your provider could recommend adjusting your diet or taking an iron supplement. Your provider might also create a customized treatment plan to address digestive disorders like celiac disease, ulcers, and colon polyps that contribute to iron-deficiency anemia.

If you’re concerned about iron-deficiency anemia, call Illinois Gastroenterology Group or make an appointment online today.