Scenario 9: Iron Deficient Anemia (IDA)

A 36-year-old woman presents to the clinic with complaints of dyspnea on exertion, fatigue, leg cramps on climbing stairs, craving ice to suck or chew and cold intolerance. The symptoms have come on gradually over the past 4 months. The only thing that make the symptoms better is for her to sit or lie down and stop the activity. She denies bruising or bleeding and states this is the first time this has happened. Past medical history noncontributory except for a new diagnosis of benign uterine fibroids 6 months ago after experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding every month. Social history noncontributory and she denies alcohol, tobacco, or drug use. Physical exam: pale, thin, Caucasian female who appears older than stated age. Physical exam remarkable for a soft I/IV systolic murmur, pallor of the mucous membranes, spoon-shaped nails (koilonychia), glossy tongue, with atrophy of the lingual papillae, and fissures at the corners of the mouth. The APRN suspects the patient has iron deficient anemia (IDA) secondary to excessive blood loss from uterine fibroids. The appropriate laboratory tests confirmed the diagnosis.


Discuss iron deficiency anemia and how the patient’s menstrual bleeding contributed to the diagnosis.