Fast Five Quiz: How Familiar Are You With Iron-Deficiency Anemia?

Emmanuel C. Besa, MD; Derek B. Laskar, MD


May 18, 2021

Elderly patients with poor economic circumstances who do not wish to seek aid may try to subsist on a "tea and toast" diet. Such patients may also be hesitant to share this dietary information. In these patients, protein-calorie malnutrition is far more likely to develop prior to iron-deficiency anemia. For this reason and others, taking a dietary history is important in the workup for suspected iron-deficiency anemia.

Pica, or the craving to chew substances that have no nutritional value, such as ice or clay, does not cause iron-deficiency anemia, but it may be a symptom of the condition. However, about half of patients with moderate iron-deficiency anemia develop pagophagia and crave ice (or occasionally cold vegetables) to suck or chew on.

Vegetarians who do not supplement their diet with iron are more likely to develop iron deficiency than those who consume meat.

Learn more about the presentation of iron-deficiency anemia.


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