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Iron deficiency anemia: evaluation and management.

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional disorder worldwide and accounts for approximately one-half of anemia cases. The diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia is confirmed by the findings of low iron stores and a hemoglobin level two standard deviations below normal. Women should be screened during pregnancy, and children screened at one year of age. Supplemental iron may be given initially, followed by further workup if the patient is not responsive to therapy. Men and postmenopausal women should not be screened, but should be evaluated with gastrointestinal endoscopy if diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. The underlying cause should be treated, and oral iron therapy can be initiated to replenish iron stores. Parenteral therapy may be used in patients who cannot tolerate or absorb oral preparations.

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