ironing out the complexities

Ironing out the complexities – anaemia and diabetes in a clinical context

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Iron deficiency is common in South Africa. Whilst classic aspects of this entity like koilonychia or spoon-shaped fingernails are well known to clinicians, less appreciated are early, non-specific clues which may be present for years before a diagnosis is confirmed.

In all cases, the cause of iron deficiency should be addressed, and, whenever possible, eliminated.

Iron treatment should be started promptly, especially in people who are symptomatic. The choice of iron compound and the route of administration are largely dependent on the presence and degree of anaemia, reversibility of the underlying cause, clinical status of the person, and in some instances client preference.

This Journal Club will focus specifically on the association between diabetes and iron deficiency. The implications range from accurately assessing the HbA1c, discerning if symptoms such as fatigue are related to the iron matter at hand or diabetes, as well as preferential treatment options for people with diabetes.

And, should screening for iron deficiency be part of the routine biochemical appraisal we undertake in daily diabetes practice?

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