Iron Deficiency Anemia: Basic Principles and Practice

While the symptoms of all anemia types are similar, it is possible to differentiate some for them and find the right diagnosis. Multiple kinds of anemia are described by an individual feeling fatigued. Thus, it can be hard to find a diagnosis in many situations. However, the case of Ms. A gives enough information to suggest that she most likely has iron-deficiency anemia. One can outline a number of reasons to support the diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia in the case of Ms. A.

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First of all, the patient reports having general symptoms of the condition that can be attributed to iron deficiency anemia as well. Tiredness and lack of enthusiasm are the most commonly defined symptoms of this issue. Moreover, Ms. A has an elevated heart rate and respiratory rate coupled with low blood pressure. According to Hoffman et al. (2013), these symptoms are also definitive proof for most cases of anemia. However, the patient also states that she has such conditions as menorrhagia and dysmenorrhea. In this situation, it is possible that Ms. A’s anemia is caused, or at least exacerbated, by these issues. According to Can, Gulactı, and Kurtoglu (2013), the problem of excessive blood flow during menstruation, otherwise called menorrhagia, is often followed by a person developing an iron deficiency due to the loss of iron in the circulating blood cells. Continuous heavy bleeding disrupts the balance of iron absorption in one’s body. Moreover, according to the American Society of Hematology (2017), different conditions followed by excessive blood loss are the most common reasons for this particular type of anemia. Thus, Ms. A’s description of her medical history can support the diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia.

The tests provided in the case are also indicative of this particular diagnosis. The combination of low hemoglobin and hematocrit implies that the patient does not have a sufficient amount of blood cells. The presence of microcytic and hypochromic cells also indicates the possibility of iron deficiency as it shows that there is not enough iron to produce enough hemoglobin, which leads to the creation of small cells. Vehapoglu et al. (2014) state that microcytic anemia, including its iron deficiency type, is widespread among young women. Therefore, Ms. A can be in the group of risk for this type of anemia due to her age and medical history. Other results of the analysis also point to this condition is present. For instance, she has a low erythrocyte count, which can be directly connected to a deficiency of iron in her blood. According to Miller (2013), the lack of erythrocytes can be both the result and the reason for this issue, as erythrocytes cannot be produced in bodies that have insufficient iron storage. Thus, iron deficiency is the most probable reason for the results coming out this way.

The fact that other laboratory values stay within the normal limits can tell one that Ms. A does not have other types of anemia, which can be defined by specific factors. First of all, anemia of chronic disease can be eliminated as the patient does not express any symptoms of various chronic conditions (Shander et al., 2014). Furthermore, aplastic anemia can also be excluded as the laboratory tests show that, while the blood cell count of the patient is somewhat low, it is not significantly inferior to suspect this particular condition.

The symptoms described above, along with the presented findings of the laboratory tests, signify that Ms. A most likely has iron-deficiency anemia. While this diagnosis offers some definitive ways of treating the condition, some additional tests should be performed in order to exclude all other possible conditions. Some rare types of anemia cannot be found with a blood test as the only type of diagnostic material.


American Society of Hematology. (2017). Anemia. Web.

Can, Ç., Gulactı, U., & Kurtoglu, E. (2013). An extremely low hemoglobin level due to menorrhagia and iron deficiency anemia in a patient with mental retardation. International Medical Journal, 20(6), 735-736.

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Hoffman, R., Benz Jr, E. J., Silberstein, L. E., Heslop, H., Anastasi, J., & Weitz, J. (2013). Hematology: Basic principles and practice (6th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Miller, J. L. (2013). Iron deficiency anemia: A common and curable disease. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, 3(7), a011866.

Shander, A., Goodnough, L. T., Javidroozi, M., Auerbach, M., Carson, J., Ershler, W. B.,… Lew, I. (2014). Iron deficiency anemia—bridging the knowledge and practice gap. Transfusion Medicine Reviews, 28(3), 156-166.

Vehapoglu, A., Ozgurhan, G., Demir, A. D., Uzuner, S., Nursoy, M. A., Turkmen, S., & Kacan, A. (2014). Hematological indices for differential diagnosis of beta-thalassemia trait and iron deficiency anemia. Anemia, 2014, 1-7.

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