MAIN CAUSES OF IRON DEFICIENCY
There are many factors that influence the development of iron deficiency disorders and consequently the occurrence of anemia. See below the main causes:
NUTRITIONAL CAUSES: Low iron intake through food usually does not cause an iron deficiency in adults, but during lactation the physiological needs of this mineral are not covered by dairy products and for this reason it is essential an additional intake of this mineral during the 4 to 6 months of age. During childhood, adolescence and pregnancy our physiological needs of iron has an increase.
Despite being a huge influencer the food shortages of iron are not the main cause to development an anemia. Iron malabsorption does not represent a frequent cause of deficiency, except in persons who have been operated on gastrectomy or suffering from malabsorption syndrome. About 50% of these patients will suffer from iron deficiency anemia in the following years.
Diets based on plant products, especially in the case of vegans, may cause iron deficiency due to the absence or low iron absorption in the intestine, since this mineral is presented in its form of non-heme iron.
ABSORPTION PROBLEMS: Some disorders such as atrophic gastritis weaken the stomach acidity causing a reduction of the absorption of non-heme iron, but do not affect the absorption of iron salts or heme iron from animal sources.
Other conditions such as celiac disease also hinder iron absorption process and can cause the onset of anemia.
BLOOD LOSS AND HEMORRHAGE: is the most common cause of iron deficiency in adults, which may be due to various reasons. The most common considering the female population between 15 and 45 years old are blood loss associated with menstruation.
In the case of adult men and postmenopausal women suffer from iron deficiency anemia, the main cause is usually chronic blood loss from the gastrointestinal tract, which may be due to gastroesophageal reflux, hiatal hernia, esophagitis, excessive intake of NSAIDs, ulcers, parasites or neoplastic diseases.