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A Case of Iron Deficiency Anemia


David F. Dean
Department of Biology
Spring Hill College


“Dolores Welborn,” a 28-year-old attorney, is pregnant with her first child. Lately she has been tiring easily and is often short of breath. She has also had periods of light-headedness, cramping in her legs, and a sore tongue. Students read a brief clinical history and a description of signs and symptoms, then answer a set of directed questions designed to probe the underlying anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the Dolores's condition.  In the process, they learn about the human hemolymphatic system. The case has been used in a sophomore-level course in human anatomy and physiology taught to pre-med and nursing students as well as in senior-level elective course in general physiology taken primarily by pre-med students.

  • The structure of hemoglobin and the role played by iron in the transport of oxygen.
  • The means by which iron is transported and stored in the body.
  • The incidence and causes of IDA.
  • The red blood cell indices and how they are used to characterize anemia.
  • How IDA is prevented and treated.
Keywords: Iron deficiency anemia; hemoglobin; red blood cell indices; transport of oxygen; blood oxygen; apotransferin; transferring; ferritin
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Directed
Language: English
Subject Headings: Physiology   Medicine (General)   Nursing  
Date Posted: 09/08/06
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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