Diseases With Low Iron and Weight Loss

Medical exam
A doctor is counseling her patient. (Image: AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images)

Numerous conditions can cause low iron levels in your body and weight loss. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, or NHLBI, not having enough iron in your body can cause iron-deficiency anemia. Insufficient iron is often due to blood loss, poor diet or the inability to absorb adequate amounts of iron from the foods you consume. Certain medical conditions or parasites can cause low iron levels and weight loss too, although proper diagnosis and treatment can help restore your iron levels and body weight.

Hookworm

Hookworm is a disease that causes low iron and weight loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, hookworm is an intestinal parasite that causes diarrhea and abdominal pain. Severe hookworm infections are particularly problematic for certain people, including newborns, children, pregnant women and malnourished individuals. Hookworm infections usually affect people in tropical or subtropical climates. Common signs and symptoms associated with hookworm include anemia and low iron levels, loss of appetite and weight loss, itching and a rash in the affected area, abdominal pain, stunted growth and impaired mental development. The CDC estimates that, in 2002, 1.3 billion people around the world were infected with hookworm. You develop hookworm from direct contact with contaminated soil or accidentally swallowing contaminated soil.

Gastritis

Gastritis is a stomach-related condition that can cause low iron levels and weight loss. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, or NIDDK, states that gastritis is inflammation of your stomach mucosa or lining. The stomach mucosa contains cells that generate acid, enzymes and mucus. When your stomach lining is inflamed, the function of these cells is impaired. The most common cause of gastritis is Helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach lining. According to the NIDDK, Helicobacter pylori bacteria are transmitted from person to person through contaminated food and water. Common signs and symptoms associated with gastritis include low iron levels, loss of appetite and weight loss, upper abdominal pain or discomfort, nausea, vomiting and blood in your vomit and stool. The NIDDK estimates that 20 to 50 percent of Americans may be infected with Helicobacter pylori bacteria.

Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are open sores in your digestive tract that can cause low iron levels and weight loss. According to MayoClinic.com, peptic ulcers can form in the lining of your esophagus, stomach or upper small intestine. Abdominal pain is the most common symptom associated with this condition. Other common signs and symptoms associated with peptic ulcers include low iron levels in your body, unexplained weight loss, nausea and vomiting, blood in your vomit and stools and loss of appetite. The most common causes of peptic ulcers include bacterial infection and certain medications. MayoClinic.com states that peptic ulcers are common, affecting up to 10 percent of Americans at some point in their lives. Possible complications associated with peptic ulcers include internal bleeding, the formation of scar tissue and infection of your abdominal cavity -- a painful condition known as peritonitis.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.