The Evidence-Based Evaluation of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Med Clin North Am. 2016 Sep;100(5):1065-75. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2016.04.015.


Anemia is a prevalent disease with multiple possible etiologies and resultant complications. Iron deficiency anemia is a common cause of anemia and is typically due to insufficient intake, poor absorption, or overt or occult blood loss. Distinguishing iron deficiency from other causes of anemia is integral to initiating the appropriate treatment. In addition, identifying the underlying cause of iron deficiency is also necessary to help guide management of these patients. We review the key components to an evidence-based, cost-conscious evaluation of suspected iron deficiency anemia.

Keywords: Iron deficiency anemia; Microcytic anemia; Occult gastrointestinal bleed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / diagnosis*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology*
  • Crohn Disease / complications
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / complications*
  • Humans
  • Iron / therapeutic use*
  • Medical History Taking
  • Menorrhagia / complications
  • Physical Examination
  • Thalassemia / complications


  • Iron