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1 in 10 people surveyed
report living with iron

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The Basics of Iron Deficiency Background Image

The Basics of Iron Deficiency

Learn more about the symptoms and causes of iron deficiency

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Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBD is the name for a group of conditions where your gastrointestinal tract becomes inflamed.

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Chronic Heart Failure

CHF means that your heart is not working well enough to pump the blood your organs need and tissues need around the body.

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Women's Health

As a women there are times when you are more at risk of not having enough iron or when you might need extra iron.

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Explore the symptoms of iron deficiency.

Check your symptoms with the Symptom Browser app.

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Are You At Risk?

Certain long-term conditions and lifestyle choices can make iron deficiency more likely.

Click on the icons for more information.

Chronic Heart Failure

About 50% of heart failure patients have some form of iron deficiency, with and without anaemia.

There are many reasons why you may become iron deficient with chronic heart failure as multiple organs can be affected, including your intestines where iron is absorbed into your bloodstream.

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Up to half of people with Chronic Kidney Disease stages 2-5 have some form of iron deficiency. The general reasons for iron deficiency include frequent blood tests, reduced intake of iron-rich foods and inflammation.

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Other Risks

There are many conditions that are associated with iron deficiency. For example, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), restless leg syndrome (RLS) and special diets, for example if you are vegetarian or vegan, can all increase your risk of iron deficiency.

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Both the cancer itself and some cancer treatments can lead to iron deficiency and/or anaemia. Around 30% to 45% of people across all types of cancer are iron deficient.

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Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease can lead to damaged or inflamed intestines meaning that less iron and other nutrients can be absorbed from your diet. Coeliac disease can also lead to bleeding in your gastrointestinal tract and therefore an increased loss of iron from your body. Having coeliac disease increases your chances of also being iron deficient.

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Up to 76% of people with IBD may experience iron deficiency anaemia, due to long term internal bleeding within the intestines, reduced absorption of iron from food and reduced intake of iron-rich foods. As well as iron deficiency, IBD can cause you to become anaemic for other reasons too.

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Front Explore SymptomExplore s

Explore the symptoms of iron deficiency.

Explorador de sintomas de deficiência de ferro.

Check your symptoms with our LiFe app.

Consulte os seus sintomas através do nosso explorador de sintomas.

Signs of Iron Deficiency


Shortness of Breath

Reduced physical capacity.

Falta de ar

Capacidade fisíca reduzida.

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Lack of Concentration

Nervousness and disturbed attention.

Falta de concentração

Nervosismo e défice de atenção.

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Repeated headaches might
be a sign of iron deficiency.

Dores de Cabeça

Dores de cabeça incessantes podem
ser um sinal de deficiência de ferro.

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Feeling physically or mentally tired.


Sentir-se fisicamente e mentalmente cansado.

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Hair Loss

Losing clumps of hair or
more hair than normal.

Queda de Cabelo

Perder tufos de cabelo ou mais
cabelo do que o normal.

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Notably on the face, nails
inner mouth, and lining of eyes.


Mais notável na face, unhas, interior
da boca e contornos dos olhos.

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Brittle or Spoon
Shaped Nails

Nails that chip and crack easily.

Unhas quebradiças ou
em forma de colher

Unhas que racham e quebram facilmente.

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Cold Intolerance

Hands and/or feet are cold
even if the temperature is warm.

Intolerância ao Frio

Mãos e/ou pés frios mesmo
quando está calor.

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Signs of iron deficiency