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Most common type of anemia, which may develop in times of high iron loss and depletion of iron stores (e.g., rapid growth, pregnancy, menstruation) or in settings of low dietary iron intake or inefficient iron uptake (e.g., starvation, intestinal parasites, gastrectomy). Much of the world's population is iron-deficient to some degree. Symptoms include low energy level and sometimes paleness, shortness of breath, cold extremities, sore tongue, or dry skin. In advanced cases, red blood cells are small, pale, and low in hemoglobin, blood iron levels are reduced, and body iron stores are depleted. Treatment with iron usually brings quick improvement.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on iron-deficiency anemia, visit Britannica.com.
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