Iron Deficiency vs. Anemia: The Differences

  • By reComparison Contributor
  • comments 0
  • views11980

Difference between Iron Deficiency and Anemia

Anemia is a condition that affects millions of people all over the world whether or not they are aware of it. As bothersome as the condition is however, it is important to note that anemia is only one symptom of a much broader condition: iron deficiency. What exactly is iron deficiency and what does it have to do with anemia? This comparison article should reveal the answers.

Definition

Anemia is the name given to a disorder that may be caused by broad range of conditions. Among some of the health issues that may result in anemia are unusually heavy menstruation, cancer, digestive bleeding, and sickle cell disease.

Iron deficiency is only one type of anemia, and it is caused by the loss of a large amount of blood or an impairment of the body's ability to absorb iron from food. The condition can be mild or severe, and it can be temporary or chronic. Iron deficiency is actually quite commonplace in the United States, where it is thought to affect up to 2% of the adult population. The condition is even more prevalent in other countries, due to poor diet.

Causes

Anemia (and iron deficiency anemia by extension) results when there isn't enough iron in the body to produce hemoglobin. When this happens, the ability of the red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body is impaired. That being said, the typical symptoms of anemia may not be apparent until the hemoglobin levels have been reduced by at least 20%.

Symptoms

As mentioned previously, both anemia and the more specific iron deficiency anemia may not be apparent until the blood hemoglobin levels have been reduced considerably. This means that there are many people who suffer from anemia who may not be aware of it at all due to the total absence of symptoms. That being said, some people may manifest the typical symptoms of anemia, which include unusual weakness and/or fatigue, headaches, irritability, increased heart rate and shortness of breath.

Iron deficiency anemia may also bring about less familiar symptoms such as brittling of the nails, a sore tongue, and RLS or restless legs syndrome. Anemia of any sort may also cause the patient to crave inedible items, with clay and dirt being some of the more common objects of the craving. This condition is called pica, and is sometimes accompanied by a craving to eat ice, which in turn is a condition known as Pagophagia.

Summary

Iron deficiency

  • Is only one type of anemia
  • May be caused by the loss of a large amount of blood or an impairment of the body's ability to absorb iron from food
  • Quite commonplace in the United States, where it affects as much as 2% of the adult population

Anemia

  • May be caused by unusually heavy menstruation, cancer, digestive bleeding, and sickle cell disease
  • Results when there isn't enough iron in the body to produce hemoglobin
  • May not show any symptoms at all

Which condition feels worse to the sufferer?
  • Iron Deficiency
  • Anemia
 
 

Discuss It: comments

Post a Comment
  • Name*
  • Email*
  • Website (optional)
  • arrow You are commenting as a Guest
  • arrow Your email will not be public
  • arrow Login or Sign Up and post using your reComparison account
  • arrow Facebook Connect