Skill Checkup: An Active Woman With Vertigo, Fatigue, Leg Cramps, and Often Chews on Ice

James L. Harper, MD


November 01, 2021

When anemia is mild and intestinal intake is uncompromised, iron deficiency should be treated with oral iron therapy. Oral iron is typically considered the first-line treatment option for iron deficiency anemia. However, patients who have a microcytic iron-overloading disorder (eg, thalassemia, sideroblastic anemia) should not be given iron supplementation. If iron deficiency anemia is severe, iron may need to be given intravenously.

The condition's etiology should also be targeted. If anemia is caused by bleeding, further therapy, such as antibiotics or surgery, is indicated. Surgical treatment would be completed with the goal of stopping hemorrhage and correcting the underlying defect.

Vitamin C intake may aid absorption of oral iron supplementation and some patients may be directed to take both supplements together, though recent data suggest that vitamin C is not needed.


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