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Health Tip: What's Behind Iron Deficiency

-- Iron is an essential mineral that's present in all cells. As a key component of hemoglobin in the blood, for example, it helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

People who don't have enough iron in the blood may have fewer-than-normal red blood cells, a condition called iron deficiency anemia.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these risk factors for iron deficiency:

  • Being a baby or toddler, or a pregnant woman.
  • Having lost a significant amount of blood.
  • Eating a diet that lacks enough meat, poultry or fish that are rich in iron.
  • Being vegetarian.
  • Taking certain medications to manage ulcers or acid reflux.
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Posted: March 2011