Microcytic Anemia – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Microcytic anemia is a term used to characterize any type of anemia caused due to small red blood cells in human blood. In Microcytic anemia the red blood cells are paler than usual. Microcytic anemia is the most common types of anemia which is found.


In most of the cases Microcytic anemia is caused because of the deficiency of iron. Thus it is the most sought after thing when a person is contacted with Microcytic anemia. Once it is confirmed that the cause of Microcytic anemia is the deficiency of anemia than the most important task for a doctor is to identify the reason which is causing iron deficiency in human body. The cause of iron deficiency in human body may either be loss of blood cells due to heavy bleeding, poor intake of iron in the body or the loss of capability to absorb iron from the food.  The most causes of iron deficiency caused by excessive bleeding are blood loss caused in intestine due to colon, gastritis, cancers, ulcers or esophagietis.  Heavy menstruation is another most common cause of Microcytic anemia in women.

After iron deficiency, lead poisoning is one of the most common causes of Microcytic anemia. This cause needs to be taken into consideration when the patient did not responds to the iron supplements or lives in area or home with lead exposure which are generally old homes.

Anemia caused due to chronic disease is another cause which can lead to Microcytic anemia. Normally this is a case of Normocytic anemia but in rare cases anemia caused due to chronic disease can lead to Microcytic anemia.

Sideroblastic anemia is yet another cause of Microcytic anemia.  This case is generally found in people having serious bone marrow disease, leukaemia and myelodyplasia.


Microcytic anemia can be detected on a routine test lab. Some common symptoms of this type are pale skin, dizziness, conjunctivitis, short breath during exercise, fatigue, urge to eat chalk or dirt and decreased stamina.


The treatment of Microcytic anemia caused due to iron deficiency is usually successfully accomplished with the help of oral intake of iron supplements. However in severe cases the iron supplements are given intravenously, this process comes with a risk of serious allergic reaction and thus needs to avoid if possible.  In case the cause of Microcytic anemia is internal bleeding than it should immediately be stopped and if Microcytic anemia is caused due to some chronic illness than effort should be made to cure illness.