Your doctor can check your hemoglobin (Hb) levels with a blood test. Hb is a protein in the red blood cells. Hb contains iron, which allows your red blood cells to carry oxygen from your lungs to other tissues and organs throughout the body.1

Iron-deficiency anemia 2

Less than 12 g/dL

Less than 13 g/dL


Your doctor may advise you to take an iron supplement. This may be given as an oral tablet. Oral tablets often cause gastrointestinal side-effects, such as constipation. Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are high in fiber to help counteract this effect.

If oral medication isn’t well tolerated or isn’t working well, your doctor might decide to give you iron as an intravenous infusion. This delivers the iron directly into your bloodstream, helping to increase your iron levels more quickly and effectively.

There are other types of treatments available that your doctor may prescribe for iron-deficiency anemia. Always discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor or pharmacist.

Diet and Lifestyle

The food that we eat can also contain iron, and it is advisable to eat plenty of foods that are rich in iron. These include the following 3:

Vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron better. Try to include vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, and tomatoes in your diet.4

Coffee and some teas may reduce iron absorption in the body.
Avoid drinking coffee and tea with your meals.4

Exercise regularly and limit your alcohol intake

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  1. Cleveland Clinic website. Hemoglobin Test. Date updated July 2022. Date accessed August 2022.
  2. Fishbane S, Spinowitz B. Update on anemia in ESRD and earlier stages of CKD: Core curriculum 2018. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. 2018;71(3):423–435. doi:10.1053/j.ajkd.2017.09.026
  4. Sharecare website. Living well with Anemia. Date updated Sept 2021. Date accessed Aug 2022.