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What Is Iron Deficiency?

Iron makes hemoglobin, a part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues

Iron de´Čüciency means a shortage of iron, and without enough of it, the body cannot make enough red blood cells to deliver adequate oxygen to organs


What Are Common Causes of Iron Deficiency?

  • Not enough iron in your diet
  • Increased blood loss
  • Increased need for iron
  • Issues with absorbing iron

Certain chronic conditions or procedures:


Why are patients with chronic heart failure more likely to have iron deficiency?

Arrow right angled upInsufficient dietary intake

Insufficient dietary intake

Arrow rightDrugs/foods that reduce iron absorption

Drugs/foods that reduce iron absorption

Arrow rightDrug side effect of increased GI bleeding

Drug side effect of increased GI bleeding

Arrow left angled upFunctional GI changes

Functional GI changes

What Are the Symptoms of Iron Deficiency?

  • Brittle fingernails
  • Headaches
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen tongue
  • Dry and damaged skin and hair
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Craving for specific foods or non-food substances, eg, chalk

WarningID is common and serious;

talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms

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Ponikowski P, Jankowska EA. Targeting Iron Deficiency in Heart Failure: Existing Evidence and Future Expectations. Circ Heart Fail. 2021;14(5):e008299; Anand IS, Gupta P. Anemia and Iron Deficiency in Heart Failure: Current Concepts and Emerging Therapies. Circulation. 2018;138(1):80-98; Mayo Clinic. Iron Deficiency Anemia. Accessed October 10, 2023.; Beavers CJ, Ambrosy AP, Butler J, et al. Iron Deficiency in Heart Failure: A scientific statement from the Heart Failure Society of America. J Card Fail. 2023;29(7):1059-1077