Iron deficiency anaemia revisited

J Intern Med. 2020 Feb;287(2):153-170. doi: 10.1111/joim.13004. Epub 2019 Nov 12.


Iron deficiency anaemia is a global health concern affecting children, women and the elderly, whilst also being a common comorbidity in multiple medical conditions. The aetiology is variable and attributed to several risk factors decreasing iron intake and absorption or increasing demand and loss, with multiple aetiologies often coexisting in an individual patient. Although presenting symptoms may be nonspecific, there is emerging evidence on the detrimental effects of iron deficiency anaemia on clinical outcomes across several medical conditions. Increased awareness about the consequences and prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia can aid early detection and management. Diagnosis can be easily made by measurement of haemoglobin and serum ferritin levels, whilst in chronic inflammatory conditions, diagnosis may be more challenging and necessitates consideration of higher serum ferritin thresholds and evaluation of transferrin saturation. Oral and intravenous formulations of iron supplementation are available, and several patient and disease-related factors need to be considered before management decisions are made. This review provides recent updates and guidance on the diagnosis and management of iron deficiency anaemia in multiple clinical settings.

Keywords: anaemia; complications; diagnosis; iron deficiency; management; pathophysiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / diagnosis*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Humans
  • Iron / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors


  • Iron