5 Diseases Caused Due To Deficiency Of Iron And Reasons For Lack Of Iron In Body!



Published on: 22-Jun-2024


10 min read






5 Diseases Caused Due To Deficiency Of Iron And Reasons For Lack Of Iron In Body!

5 Diseases Caused Due To Deficiency Of Iron And Reasons For Lack Of Iron In Body!

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Iron deficiency is a prevalent nutritional issue that can lead to several serious health conditions, affecting millions worldwide. Iron is a crucial mineral for producing haemoglobin, which is essential for transporting oxygen in the blood. When the body lacks a sufficient portion of iron, it can result in various diseases, including iron deficiency anaemia, impaired cognitive function, and more. Thus, diseases caused by iron deficiency highlight the importance of maintaining adequate iron levels for overall wellness.

So, to better understand, let’s discuss the major diseases caused due to deficiency of iron with their symptoms.

Table Of Contents

1. 5 Problems And Diseases Caused Due To Deficiency Of Iron

2. What Is The Major Cause Of Iron Deficiency?

3. Where Is Iron Deficiency Most Common?

4. Dietitian’s Recommendation

5. The Final Say

6. FAQs

7. References

5 Problems And Diseases Caused Due To Deficiency Of Iron

Lack of iron can lead to several serious health issues, primarily due to its critical role in producing haemoglobin, which is essential for transporting oxygen in the blood. Let’s discuss these main conditions associated with iron deficiency:

1. Iron Deficiency or Anemia

This is the most common condition resulting from a lack of iron. It occurs when the body doesn't have enough iron to produce adequate haemoglobin.Symptoms: Fatigue, pale skin, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, and feeling cold are common symptoms. Red blood cells shrink, and their oxygen-carrying capacity is reduced, affecting overall bodily function.

Also Read: Understanding Iron Deficiency: Diet Plan, Recipes, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

2. Impaired Cognitive Function

Adequate iron is crucial for brain development and function. A deficiency can severely impact cognitive abilities, particularly in children and adolescents.Symptoms: Learning disabilities, poor memory, and poor thinking skills can develop. It may cause significant developmental delays, slow growth, and a marked lack of confidence in severe cases.

3. Increased Susceptibility To Infections

Iron is vital for a healthy immune system. A deficiency can weaken immune responses, making the body more susceptible to infections.Symptoms: Increased frequency of bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, chronic pain, and a higher rate of relapses in previously treated infections.

Also Read: Anemia Diet: What You Need To Know

4. Pregnancy Complications

Pregnant women require more iron, and a deficiency can have serious consequences for both the mother and the developing fetus.Symptoms: Increased risk of maternal anaemia, which can eventually lead to premature birth, often seen as low birth weight and maternal mortality. The baby may also develop iron deficiency anaemia, resulting in developmental delays and long-term health problems.

5. Cardiovascular Diseases

Iron helps transport and utilise oxygen in tissues. A deficiency can negatively affect the cardiovascular system.

  • Symptoms: Higher risk of heart disease, heart failure, and arrhythmias. It can cause heart failure, oxidative stress, and endothelial dysfunction, worsening existing heart conditions and increasing the risk of death.

These conditions underscore the importance of maintaining adequate iron levels in the body through diet or supplementation, especially for populations at higher risk, such as children, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic illnesses.

Also Read: The Ultimate List Of Foods Rich In Iron With 7-Day Diet Plan For Anaemic Patients

What Is The Major Cause Of Iron Deficiency?

Note the major causes of iron deficiency, which leads to diseases for reference:




Inadequate dietary intake of iron-rich foods

Not consuming enough foods that are high in iron.

Foods include poultry, red meat, fish, leafy green vegetables, and beans.

Chronic blood loss

Loss of blood over a long period can deplete iron stores.

Causes: gastrointestinal bleeding, heavy menstruation, and other medical conditions.

Impaired iron absorption

The body’s ability to absorb iron is reduced, often due to gastrointestinal disorders.

Disorders: inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease.

Increased iron requirements

Certain life stages demand more iron.

Stages: infancy, pregnancy, adolescence.

Poor iron bioavailability from the diet

Iron from food isn't easily absorbed due to various factors.

Factors: low intake of enhancers like vitamin C, presence of inhibitors such as phytates and tannins.

Also Read: What Deficiency Causes Dark Circles?

Where Is Iron Deficiency Most Common?

Iron deficiency is very commonly seen in developing countries, especially in societies with limited access to food, medical care, and sanitation. Factors such as poverty, malnutrition, the prevalence of infectious diseases, and inadequate access to prenatal care contribute to iron deficiency in these regions. However, it still affects populations in developing countries, especially certain groups such as pregnant women, infants, children, and people with health problems or dietary restrictions.

Also Read: Vitamin Deficiency Causes, Reasons & Tips For Hair Loss

Dietitian’s Recommendation

Consuming iron-rich foods such as healthy lean proteins, poultry, fish, legumes, and green leafy vegetables can help prevent iron deficiency. Combining these nutritious foods with a source of vitamin C can increase iron absorption. If you are at risk, consider taking iron supplements under medical supervision to maintain appropriate iron levels and prevent health problems.

                                                                             Dt. Akshata Gandevikar

The Final Say

In short, iron deficiency may seem like a silent thief, stealing vitality and well-being unnoticed. However, its impact is far-reaching and effective. By understanding the causes and consequences of iron deficiency and implementing preventive measures and treatments, we can reduce its negative effects and improve the health of people and communities.


1. What are the common symptoms of iron deficiency?

Most commonly seen iron deficiency symptoms include fatigue, weakness, consistent pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, and brittle nails. You might also experience headaches, cold hands and feet, and unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances like ice or dirt.

2. How is iron deficiency diagnosed?

Iron deficiency is diagnosed through blood tests that measure levels of haemoglobin, hematocrit, and ferritin. Your doctor may also consider your red blood cell size and count to confirm the diagnosis.

3. What foods are good sources of iron?

Good sources of iron include healthy lean protein, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, spinach, and iron-fortified cereals. Consuming vitamin C-rich foods like fresh oranges and strawberries alongside iron-rich foods can enhance iron absorption.




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