WESTMINSTER HOSPITAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY WESTMINSTER HOSPITAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The pallid skin of the hand of a patient with iron deficiency anaemia (left) is compared with the healthy, pink skin of a normal hand (right). Anaemia is a disorder of the blood in which the quantity of haemoglobin (the red, oxygen-carrying pigment) is reduced. It can have a number of causes, including a deficiency in the dietary iron required for haemoglobin synthesis. Symptoms include excessive tiredness, breathlessness, pallor and, more rarely, skin and nail abnormalities. Iron deficiency anaemia is extremely common, particularly in pregnant women and pre-school children.
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