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Red meat is a good source of iron.

Red meat is a good source of iron.
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Iron deficiency

2-minute read

Iron deficiency is common. Iron is an essential mineral for our bodies and when iron levels are too low it can cause anaemia. People can get iron deficiency for many different reasons. It’s important to find the cause of the deficiency, so the cause can be treated as well as the deficiency itself.

If you think you might have low iron levels, see your doctor. The only reliable way of telling if you are iron deficient is through a blood test. If you are iron deficient, it’s important to find out why you have iron deficiency and what you can do about it.

What is iron deficiency?

Iron is an essential mineral. All your cells need it to survive. The body can’t make iron, so you need to get it from food.

When there isn’t enough iron stored in your body, you have iron deficiency.

Iron’s main role is in red blood cells, where it helps make a protein called haemoglobin. Haemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood that moves from your lungs to all your cells so they can work properly.

What are the symptoms of iron deficiency?

If you have iron deficiency, you may feel tired. You can find it hard to concentrate, and hard to motivate yourself to do the things you need to do.

If your iron levels get so low that you become anaemic, you can get a range of symptoms, including feeling:

  • extremely tired
  • short of breath
  • your heart beating fast or irregularly, or both
  • dizzy and light-headed

Who is at risk of iron deficiency?

Some people need more iron than others. The people who need most iron include children, teenagers, pregnant women and breast feeding women.

Some other groups at risk of iron deficiency include females of menstruating age (girls and women who have periods), vegetarians and vegans, babies fed on cow’s milk, and endurance athletes.

Last reviewed: January 2019

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Iron deficiency anaemia - myDr.com.au

Iron deficiency anaemia is when lack of iron means that the blood does not produce enough haemoglobin. The iron deficiency needs to be prolonged to produce anaemia.

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Iron deficiency anaemia in children - myDr.com.au

Many children do not get enough iron from their diet to meet the demands of their growing bodies. This can result in low body ironand eventually iron deficiency anaemia (low haemoglobin).

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Iron deficiency anaemia (anemia) information | myVMC

Iron deficiency anaemia is a blood disorder in which haemoglobin, used for transporting oxygen, declines due to low levels of iron in the blood.

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Anaemia (iron deficiency, low iron) information | myVMC

Anaemia is a blood disorder in which there is not enough haemoglobin to transport of oxygen. It may occur due to chronic disease or iron deficiency.

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Iron deficiency | Australian Red Cross Blood Service

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Iron deficiency anaemia overview | Australian Red Cross Blood Service

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Iron intake for vegetarians - myDr.com.au

Iron deficiency can be a nutritional problem for vegetarians, especially women. Find out about iron in food and how to enhance your iron absorption.

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Childhood reflux, low iron and anaemia - Reflux Infants Support Association Inc

Long term PPI use can cause iron absorption issues. Added to refluxing picky eaters, there's a likelihood that reflux children can suffer iron deficiency.

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