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Iron deficiency in celiac disease is common problem

Lana Bandoim's picture
Iron deficiency and celiac disease

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are a common problem for people who suffer from celiac disease. Iron is one of the nutrients that is often an issue, and anemia can develop. Malabsorption can contribute to these issues and make the recovery process from anemia more difficult.


Iron deficiency affects an estimated 2 billion people around the world, so celiac disease patients are not the only ones with this problem. Malnutrition is usually the cause, and people who are sensitive to gluten often develop malabsorption issues. It is essential for this problem to be addressed because anemia can be life-threatening.

Research from the Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings reveals that anemia is sometimes seen as a symptom of celiac disease before the patient is officially diagnosed with the disorder. Despite following a gluten-free diet, it is not unusual for patients to be at risk of developing anemia. There are several steps that can be taken to prevent complications and help heal the body.

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A complete blood count (CBC) test may be necessary to find anemia, and it is important to talk to a doctor about your symptoms. Patients often experience weakness, headaches, dizziness, breathing problems and pale skin. A CBC test will reveal the number of red blood cells, hemoglobin and others.

Treatment for iron deficiency can vary but getting enough nutrients from food is the first step. For people with celiac disease, staying on a gluten-free diet is important because it decreases the chances of malabsorption. It may be necessary to make other dietary changes such as increasing the amount of iron from the foods you eat. Meat is a popular choice, but people on vegan and vegetarian diets have other options. You may have to look for iron-fortified foods and consider adding items such as dried fruits, legumes and spinach. It is also important to get enough vitamin C because it helps absorption. Iron supplements may be another option for some patients, but it is crucial to consult a doctor first. In extreme cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary.

Image: Laurent Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons



My dad had anemia, and iron pills hurt is stomach. His doctor suggested a blood tranfusion at the local hospital, to raise his iron level. Unfortunately, the one and only transfusion killed Dad. He was given Type B blood, and his blood type was O. I have Celiac and tend toward anemia, but I will never get a blood tranfusion. Hospital workers can be too darn careless. And they bury their mistakes.
I am not sure of your locale, but I receive iron infusions that are simply ferritin in a suspension (have to be careful of that solution as well for allergy purposes) and are not a 'blood transfusion'... is that not something that could be pursued? Everyone can be careless and, sadly, in the health profession carelessness can have catastrophic consequences, however, there are a LOT of very concientious health care professionals who would never let something like that happen. I hope you can redevelop trust for your health care professionals and get sufficient treatment.
you don't need a blood transfusion... I get iron iv's done every other year or so!! they do them at the oncology office!! sorry bout your dad