How Can I Tell if I Have Iron Deficiency?

Iron deficiency symptoms
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Sometimes signs of iron deficiency are overlooked.

Vitamins and minerals are important to our physical health.

Deficiencies can lead to small or significant health issues.

Sometimes people do not consume enough of an essential vitamin or mineral in their diets.

For others, genetics may mean having a harder time absorbing these elements.

According to a recent Healthline article titled “Signs of Iron Deficiency,” a lack of iron can lead to anemia.

Iron deficiency symptoms can include fatigue.
Fatigue is a common symptom of iron deficiency.

Because iron is essential to the production of hemoglobin and the hemoglobin protein promotes the carrying of oxygen in the blood, your muscles will grow fatigued easily from lack of oxygen when you have iron deficient anemia.

The level of symptoms depends on factors like your age, your current health, the severity of the anemia, and the speed of the development of anemia.

Although some individuals will show no symptoms, there are common signs.

What are they?

Unusual tiredness.

Everyone feels exhaustion at some point.

With anemia from iron deficiency, the body has less hemoglobin and must work harder to move oxygen-laden blood through the body.

As your heart works more, you will become more fatigued.

Paler than normal skin.

Because hemoglobin gives red blood cells their color, low iron means the blood will be less red.

As a result, those with iron deficiency lose the warmth in their skin tones.

Shortness of breath.

With less hemoglobin, the body has low oxygen levels.

Even walking can lead to a increased shortage of oxygen to muscles.

Your body will become more tired and your breathing will increase to attempt to recover the oxygen.

Headaches.

Although everyone can get headaches from iron deficiency, they are more common in women.

Not all headaches are caused by a lack of iron, but it is something to consider.

Heart palpitations.

When you notice your heart beating, you may be feeling your heart working extra hard to increase the availability of oxygen to the body.

Pay special attention to an abnormally fast beat and irregular beats.

Dry and damaged hair and skin.

The culprit to weak and dry hair is low oxygen.

Losing chunks of your hair may indicate you need more iron.

Swelling and soreness of the tongue and mouth.

Do you have dry mouth, burning in your mouth, mouth ulcers, cracked corners of your mouth or an inflamed, pale, or swollen tongue?

If yes, taking iron supplements may relieve symptoms.

Restless legs.

Do you have a strong urge to move your legs when you are not being active?

You may be experiencing restless leg syndrome.

It can also feel like a strange and unpleasant itchy or crawling sensation in your legs and feet.

About one quarter of individuals with iron deficiency experience this phenomenon and the odds of these people having it is nine times greater than those who do not have anemia.

Brittle or spoon-shaped fingernails.

If your nails crack or chip easily, you may have a symptom referred to as koilonychia.

In later or more severe instances, the nail becomes concave and resembles the structure of a spoon.

This only occurs in about 5 percent of the cases.

Other potential signs.

Symptoms like depression, cold extremities, odd cravings, and more frequent infections can be signs of other conditions as well as anemia.

If you think you have iron deficiency, talk to your doctor.

Reference:  Healthline (Oct. 19, 2021) “Signs of Iron Deficiency”

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