Anemia due to inadequate iron sources or poor iron utilization.
Anemias due to dietary iron deficiency and poor iron utilization have some features in common. In both, the anemia is hypochromic and microcytic. Also in both, the levels of free erythrocyte protoporphyrin are increased, even though many of the causes of ineffective iron utilization are actually associated with normal or increased iron stores. Appropriate use of currently available assays, including a determination of the level of serum ferritin, can distinguish between many of these disorders. Above all, a logical approach with attention to the clinical response to treatment with iron medications will help achieve a rapid diagnosis.
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