Factors that may be responsible
Anemia occurs when a person's red blood cells lack enough hemoglobin, a protein that helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.One form of anemia is triggered when a person doesn't get enough iron. The American Academy of Family Physicians offers this list of common causes for iron deficiency:
- Consuming an insufficient amount of iron in foods. This is most common in young children, or among people on "fad" diets who don't get enough nutrients.
- Growth spurts among children, usually aged 3 or younger, whose bodies can't keep up with the amount of iron that's needed.
- Pregnancy or breast-feeding, which causes women to need two-and-a-half times as much iron during this time than most men.
- Sustained blood loss, from conditions that may include a bleeding ulcer, cancer, medication side effect, or ulcerative colitis.
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