Iron is a mineral that our bodies need for many functions. For example, iron is part of hemoglobin, a protein which carries oxygen from our lungs throughout our bodies. It helps our muscles store and use oxygen. Iron is also part of many other proteins and enzymes.
Your body needs the right amount of iron. If you have too little iron, you may develop iron deficiency anemia. Causes of low iron levels include blood loss, poor diet, or an inability to absorb enough iron from foods. People at higher risk of having too little iron are young children and women who are pregnant or have periods.
Too much iron can damage your body. Taking too many iron supplements can cause iron poisoning. Some people have an inherited disease called hemochromatosis. It causes too much iron to build up in the body.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Source: MedLinePlus (NIH)1
• • •
Iron: A metallic element with atomic symbol Fe, atomic number 26, and atomic weight 55.85. It is an essential constituent of Hemoglobins; Cytochromes; and Iron-Binding Proteins. It plays a role in cellular redox reactions and in the transport of Oxygen.2
Read about these related anatomy topics:
Read about these related symptoms:
- Blood loss: Blood loss from any type of major hemorrhage can be life-threatening due to hypovolemia and shock. Obvious causes of blood loss are traumatic injuries such as car accidents, stabbing
... More on Blood loss »
Disease and Condition Articles
Read about these related conditions and diseases:
- Iron deficiency anemia: Iron deficiency anemia refers to a type of anemia (low red blood cells) that is caused by a lack of iron (iron deficiency). Low iron makes it difficult for the
... More on Iron deficiency anemia »
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy is the condition of a woman having a fetus from conception through to childbirth. The general topic of conception and pregnancy is fertility. Failure to successfully achieve a planned
... More on Pregnancy »
- Iron Poisoning: Iron Poisoning is an overdose of iron, also called iron overdose or iron toxicity. It can occur due to an accidental overdose of iron supplements. Iron Poisoning is more severe
... More on Iron Poisoning »
- Familial Disorders: Your family history includes health information about you and your close relatives. Families have many factors in common, including their genes, environment, and lifestyle. Looking at these factors can help3
... More on Familial Disorders »
- Hemochromatosis: Hemochromatosis is an “iron overload” disorder due to excess iron in the blood. The most common form is called “Hereditary Hemochromatosis” where a genetic disorder causes an increase in the
... More on Hemochromatosis »
Related Symptom Topics
Read more about these related symptoms:More »
Related Disease and Condition Topics
Read about these diseases and medical conditions related to Iron:More »
• • •
- Source: MedLinePlus (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ iron.html
- Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
- Source: MedLinePlus (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ familyhistory.html
• • •
Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.