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Review
, 3 (7)

Iron Deficiency Anemia: A Common and Curable Disease

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Review

Iron Deficiency Anemia: A Common and Curable Disease

Jeffery L Miller. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med.

Abstract

Iron deficiency anemia arises when the balance of iron intake, iron stores, and the body's loss of iron are insufficient to fully support production of erythrocytes. Iron deficiency anemia rarely causes death, but the impact on human health is significant. In the developed world, this disease is easily identified and treated, but frequently overlooked by physicians. In contrast, it is a health problem that affects major portions of the population in underdeveloped countries. Overall, the prevention and successful treatment for iron deficiency anemia remains woefully insufficient worldwide, especially among underprivileged women and children. Here, clinical and laboratory features of the disease are discussed, and then focus is placed on relevant economic, environmental, infectious, and genetic factors that converge among global populations.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Iron homeostasis in humans. Each day, 20 mg of iron is recycled between circulating transferrin (Fe-Tf) and erythrocytes. This recycling pathway is supported by (A) intestinal iron absorption, (B) erythrophagocytosis, (C) hepatic iron stores, and (D) iron incorporation into hemoglobin. For more details, see Andrews 2008. (From Andrews 2008; reprinted, with permission, © American Society of Hematology.)
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
The heme B molecule. (The image is a public domain illustration from Wikipedia and can be found at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Heme_b.svg.)
Figure 3.
Figure 3.
Three-dimensional ribbon representation of the ferritin protein cage. (The image is a public domain illustration from Wikipedia and can be found at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ferritin.png.)
Figure 4.
Figure 4.
Map of hookworm (top), Plasmodium falciparum (middle), and overlapping (bottom) prevalence. (From Brooker et al. 2006; reprinted, with express permission, from BioMed Central Ltd., © 2006.)

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