iron deficiency anaemia (IDA)

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Iron is essential for haem production. Prolonged deficiency leads to iron deficiency anaemia (IDA).

  • it is the most commonest cause of anaemia around the world (hence IDA and anaemia are often used synonymously) (1,2)
  • there is defective synthesis of haemoglobin which results in microcytic and hypochromic red blood cells (1)

Although in anaemia there is a reduced haemoglobin concentration (in men <13.5 g/dl, in women < 11.5 g/dl), the normal range for haemoglobin in IDA patients varies between different populations in the UK. Hence it seems reasonable to use the lower limit of the normal range for the local laboratory performing the test to define anaemia (3).


Last edited 05/2020 and last reviewed 05/2022