Iron Deficiency Anemia: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia in the U.S. Anemia refers to a situation in which there are too few red blood cells or the hemoglobin count is too low. Iron deficiency anemia is more common in women.

Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia can include dizziness, fatigue, lightheadedness, fast heart rate, palpitations, brittle nails, pallor, and shortness of breath. Other associated symptoms can include hair loss, loss of energy, headache, difficulty concentrating, leg cramps, and insomnia. These symptoms may occur with all types of anemia and are not limited to anemia caused by iron deficiency.

Causes of iron deficiency anemia

Increased blood loss, a decrease in iron taken into the body, or an increased need for iron causes iron deficiency anemia.

Other iron deficiency anemia symptoms and signs


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.