If you have a GI condition, you could also have IDA
With a gastrointestinal (GI) condition, you’re unable to properly digest and process nutrients from your food. You may also experience blood loss and poor absorption, which can lead to low iron levels.
Eventually, you may develop another condition called iron deficiency anemia (IDA).
- IDA is the most common form of anemia. It is a condition that interferes with the formation and function of red blood cells
- Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that helps carry oxygen from the lungs to all your cells
- When you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to the rest of your cells, that can lead to anemia
IDA is a leading complication associated with GI conditions.
- Those with gastrointestinal (GI) conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), intestinal surgery (such as gastric bypass), and celiac disease are all at risk for IDA
After you are diagnosed with IDA by a doctor, one way to treat the disease is with oral iron pills. Because absorption is a problem for people with GI conditions, oral iron pills—which are taken by mouth and delivered to the stomach by the gastrointestinal tract—may not work to treat IDA.
There is another iron treatment option.
Let’s debunk IDA
TAKE A MOMENT TO SEE IF YOU CAN SEPARATE IRON-CLAD FACTS ABOUT IDA FROM FICTION BY SELECTING ONE OF THE TWO CHOICES FOR EACH STATEMENT BELOW.
Fiction As the name suggests, iron deficiency anemia does mean the body is deficient, or low in iron, but for it to be anemia the body would need to be deficient in hemoglobin as well. Hemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that helps carry oxygenated blood throughout the body.
Fact IDA has many common symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and shortness of breath, but not everyone with IDA will show symptoms.
Fiction There are actually several known causes of IDA, including blood loss (often from heavy uterine bleeding, or HUB), lack of dietary iron, inability to absorb iron (common in gastrointestinal (GI) disorders), and pregnancy. Your doctor can help you try to find the cause of your IDA.
Fact Unlike many other conditions, family history is not a risk factor for developing IDA. With IDA, risk is increased for women, infants and children, vegetarians, and frequent blood donors.
What are some common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia (IDA)?
OTHER IDA SYMPTOMS INCLUDE:
Headache, chest pain, pale skin, arrhythmia, dizziness or lightheadedness, brittle nails, coldness in extremities, and pica (craving nonfood items such as dirt or ice)
Because some IDA symptoms may be common across many diseases, they may go overlooked. If you notice yourself experiencing one or more symptoms, it might be a good idea to check your iron.
Some people may not experience IDA symptoms. Only checking your iron levels through a blood test can diagnose IDA.
Hemoglobin (Hb)Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Anemia develops when there are not enough red blood cells, or if they are not working properly.
12.0 g/dL-15.5 g/dL
13.5 g/dL-17.5 g/dL
FerritinFerritin is a blood protein that holds onto iron until it is needed. A ferritin test is used to determine how much iron your body is storing. Low iron stores could point to anemia.
20 µg/L-200 µg/L
40 µg/L-300 µg/L
Transferrin saturation (TSAT)Transferrin is a protein that works to transport iron in the body. The TSAT test is used to indicate how much of your transferrin is available to hold iron.
Follow up with your doctor for lab work, as lab markers are the only way to get an IDA diagnosis.
You took the quiz—now talk to your doctor if you think it could be IDA or have IDA and want to learn more about additional treatment options.
Click here to learn more about a treatment option for IDA.