Iron deficiency is seen most often in infants and children between 6 months and 3 years of age due to rapid growth and inadequate intake of dietary iron.
Children who get more than 24 ounces of cow, goat or soymilk per day have higher risk of iron deficiency because excess milk intake decreases the child’s consumption of food with higher iron content (meat or iron fortified cereal) and calcium can also decreases heme-iron absorption.
Adolescents are at the risk of anaemia during their adolescent growth spurt. Adolescent girls are at higher risk than boys because of iron lost during menstruation.
Women of childbearing age require additional iron to compensate for menstrual loss.
Adults who have internal bleeding, such as gastrointestinal bleeding caused by peptic ulcer disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome or colon cancer can develop iron-deficiency anaemia due to blood loss.
Pregnancy & Lactation
Blood volume in pregnant women increase by approximately 35% as the growth of fetus, placenta and other maternal tissues increase the demand for iron.
Approximately 50% of pregnant women suffer from iron deficiency anaemia.
Additional iron is lost during delivery and therefore the period after delivery is a time of recuperation of iron status.
Primary prevention of iron deficiency during pregnancy includes adequate dietary iron intake and iron supplementation.
Causes of anemia in older adults include nutritional deficiencies, chronic inflammatory disease and chronic renal disease.
Iron deficiency in the elderly usually results from gastrointestinal bleeding caused by peptic ulcer, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and NSAID use.
Iron deficiency, independent of anaemia results in reduced exercise capacity, therefore older adults complaining of increased fatigue should be screened for iron deficiency.