10 Facts About Iron Deficiency 

Ten interesting facts most people don’t know about iron deficiency. I will write a post soon about easy ways to include extra iron in your diet.

1. Iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutrient deficiency worldwide, it is estimated than 1.6 billion people are iron deficient anaemic and that over 3 billion people are iron deficient.

2. The prevalence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia is similar in developed and developing nations.

3. Iron deficiency anaemia develops when the body does not have enough iron for a prolonged period so it is subsequently forced to use stored or back up iron supplies resulting in a permanent reduction in red blood cell production .
 4. Those at highest risk of iron deficiency are those with rapid blood or iron loss for example menstruating women at a reproductive age and those individuals with increased iron requirements for example young children and pregnant women due to increased growth rates.

5. Iron deficiency in pregnant women has been estimated to be the cause of one in five cases of maternal morbidity and almost 40% of all perinatal maternal deaths are liked to anaemia.

6. Often women will enter pregnancy with adequate iron stores but will develop iron deficiency in the later stages of pregnancy

7. Iron deficiency in pregnant women has been estimated to be the cause of one in five cases of maternal morbidity and almost 40% of all perinatal maternal deaths are liked to anaemia. Iron deficiency anaemic mothers are 30-45% less likely to have favourable pregnancy outcomes. Furthermore, infants born to anaemic mothers are more likely to become anaemic (odds ratio: 5.7) as they are born with less than half of the normal iron stores.

8. It is also believed that iron deficiency and anaemia results in more than 20,000 deaths in children under five years old in the United States.

9. Iron deficiency causes long term negative health implications for example decreased immune mechanisms and morbidity from infections, decreased physical capacity and performance.

10. Iron deficiency is commonly treated through dietary changes and supplementation. Treatment of iron deficiency anaemia varies individually depending on severity; often including dietary changes, supplements and medicines. Severe cases of iron deficiency anaemia may require blood transfusions, direct iron injections and intravenous iron therapy.


[1] Berger J, Wieringa F, Lacroux A & Dijkhuizen M. Strategies to prevent iron deficiency and improve reproductive health. Nutrition Reviews [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2015 Jun 8]; 69(1): [p. 86]. Available from: http://nutritionreviews.oxfordjournals.org.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/content/nutritionreviews/69/suppl_1/S78.full.pdf DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00436.x

[2] World Health Organization (WHO). Iron Deficiency Anaemia: Assessment, Prevention and Control. United Nations Children’s Fund; 2001.

[3] McMahon, L. Iron deficiency in pregnancy. Obstetric Medicine [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2015 Jun 10]; 3(1): [p. 17-24]. Available from:  http://obm.sagepub.com/content/3/1/17.full.pdf+html DOI: 10.1258/om.2010.100004

[4] National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. What is Iron-Deficiency Anaemia? March 26, 2014. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/topics/ida

[5] Gastroenterological Society of Australia GESA. Information about: iron deficiency. Digestive Heart Foundation (AU); 2013. 3rd edition. http://www.gesa.org.au/files/editor_upload/File/Consumer%20Brochures/2014/Iron%20Deficiency.pdf [6] National Health and Medical Research Council. NHMRC : Nutrient Reference Values Iron [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Government; 2006 [cited 2015 Jun 12]. Available from: https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/iron

[7] Allen, L. Anemia and iron deficiency: effects on pregnancy outcome. American Society of Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 2000 [cited 2015 Jun 10]; 71(5): [p. 1280-1284]. Available from: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/5/1280s.full

[8] Pasricha S, Flecknoe-Borwn S, Allen K et al. Diagonsis and management of iron deficiency anaemia: a clinical update. Medical Journal of Australia [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2015 Jun 10]; 193(9): [p. 525-532]. Available from: https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2010/193/9/diagnosis-and-management-iron-deficiency-anaemia-clinical-update?0=ip_login_no_cache%3D87e84033c0573a96c8f4f581b7e23bad

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