In men anemia is usually caused by gastrointestinal bleeding due to:
•Certain types of cancer (esophagus, stomach, colon)
•Long-term use of aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS)
•Peptic ulcer disease
Iron deficiency anemia may also be caused by poor absorption of iron in the diet, due to:
•Gastric bypass surgery
Other causes of iron deficiency anemia include:
•Not receiving enough iron in the diet (for example, if you are a strict vegetarian)
Adults at high-risk for anemia include:
•Those who use aspirin, ibuprofen, or arthritis medicines for a long time
The cause of the iron deficiency must be found, especially in older patients who face the greatest risk for gastrointestinal cancers.
Iron supplements (ferrous sulfate) are available. For the best iron absorption, take these supplements with an empty stomach. However, many people cannot tolerate this and may need to take the supplements with food.
Patients who cannot tolerate iron by mouth can take it through a vein (intravenous) or by an injection into the muscle.
Milk and antacids may interfere with the absorption of iron and should not be taken at the same time as iron supplements. Vitamin C can increase absorption and is essential in the production of hemoglobin.
The hematocrit should return to normal after 2 months of iron therapy. However, iron should be continued for another 6 - 12 months to replenish the body's iron stores in the bone marrow.
Iron-rich foods include:
•Legumes (peas and beans)
•Meats (liver is the highest source)
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