Iron deficiency and immune activation are the two most frequent causes of anemia, both of which are based on disturbances of iron homeostasis. Iron deficiency anemia results from a reduction of the body’s iron content due to blood loss, inadequate dietary iron intake, its malabsorption, or increased iron demand. Immune activation drives a diversion of iron fluxes from the erythropoietic bone marrow, where hemoglobinization takes place, to storage sites, particularly the mononuclear phagocytes system in liver and spleen. This results in iron-limited erythropoiesis and anemia. This review summarizes current diagnostic and pathophysiological concepts of iron deficiency anemia and anemia of inflammation, as well as combined conditions, and provides a brief outlook on novel therapeutic options.