Mild anemia may not have symptoms. Patient with more severe anemia will have tiredness, dizziness, and shortness of breath. If the person has underlying heart disease, the anemia may even cause chest pain.
Diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia depends on a few blood tests such as full blood count (also known as complete blood count), ferritin, iron, and TIBC (total iron binding capacity).
Iron deficiency anemia can be due to ongoing blood loss from the digestive tract. Doctors would often need to perform gastroscopy and colonoscopy to exclude serious diseases such as cancer of the stomach or colon. Quite often, the patient may not have any symptoms at all. The ongoing blood loss may or may not manifest as blood in the stool.
Iron deficiency anemia can sometimes be caused by blood loss from frequent, heavy menstruation. Malnutrition and parasitic infection can also cause iron deficiency anemia in the developing countries.
Sometimes, the bleeding may be from the small intestine. This requires specialized test such as video capsule endoscopy and small intestine enteroscopy to evaluate.
- digestive illnesses