Sound Familiar, Low Iron, Hair Loss, Cold Feet?
Iron deficiency can cause anemia, depression, pale complexion, headaches, chewing on ice often, low sex drive, weakness, dysfunctional thoughts, and fatigue. Does ANY of this sound like you? I have something for you!
Iron deficiency occurs when the body doesn’t have enough of the mineral iron. This leads to abnormally low levels of red blood cells. That’s because iron is needed to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen around the body.
If your body doesn’t have enough hemoglobin, your tissues and muscles won’t get enough oxygen and be able to work effectively. This leads to a condition called anemia. Although there are different types of anemia, iron-deficiency anemia is the most common worldwide.
Common causes of iron deficiency include inadequate iron intake due to poor diet or restrictive diets, inflammatory bowel disease, increased requirements during pregnancy and blood loss through heavy periods or internal bleeding. Whatever the cause, iron deficiency can result in unpleasant symptoms that can affect your quality of life. These include poor health, concentration and work productivity. Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency vary depending on the severity of the anemia, how quickly it develops, your age and current state of health.In some cases, people experience no symptoms.
Here are 10 signs and symptoms of iron deficiency, starting with the most common.
1. Unusual Tiredness
Feeling very tired is one of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency, affecting more than half of those who are deficient.
This happens because your body needs iron to make a protein called hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells. Hemoglobin helps carry oxygen around the body.
When your body doesn’t have enough hemoglobin, less oxygen reaches your tissues and muscles, depriving them of energy. In addition, your heart has to work harder to move more oxygen-rich blood around your body, which can make you tired.
Since tiredness is often considered a normal part of a busy, modern life, it’s difficult to diagnose iron deficiency with this symptom alone. However, many people with iron deficiency experience low energy alongside weakness, feeling cranky, difficulty concentrating or poor productivity at work.
SUMMARY:Fatigue is one of the most common signs of iron deficiency. This is due to less oxygen reaching body tissues, depriving them of energy.
Pale skin and pale coloring of the inside of the lower eyelids are other common signs of iron deficiency
The hemoglobin in red blood cells gives blood its red color, so low levels during iron deficiency make the blood less red. That’s why skin can lose its healthy, rosy color in people with iron deficiency.
This paleness in people with iron deficiency can appear all over the body, or it can be limited to one area, such as the face, gums, inside of the lips or lower eyelids and even the nails
This is often one of the first things doctors will look for as a sign of iron deficiency. However, it should be confirmed with a blood test.
Paleness is more commonly seen in moderate or severe cases of anemia .
If you pull your lower eyelid down, the inside layer should be a vibrant red color. If it is a very pale pink or yellow color, this may indicate that you have iron deficiency.
SUMMARY:Paleness in general or in specific areas such as the face, lower inner eyelid or nails may be a sign of moderate or severe iron deficiency. This is caused by lower levels of hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color.
3. Shortness of Breath
Hemoglobin enables your red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body.
When hemoglobin is low in your body during iron deficiency, oxygen levels will also be low. This means your muscles won’t get enough oxygen to do normal activities, such as walking .
As a result, your breathing rate will increase as your body tries to get more oxygen.
This is why shortness of breath is a common symptom.
If you find yourself out of breath doing normal, daily tasks that you used to find easy, such as walking, climbing stairs or working out, iron deficiency could be to blame.
SUMMARY:Shortness of breath is a symptom of iron deficiency, since low hemoglobin levels mean the body isn’t able to transport oxygen to muscles and tissues effectively.
4. Headaches and Dizziness
Iron deficiency may cause headaches. This symptom seems to be less common than others and is often coupled with lightheadedness or dizziness. In iron deficiency, low levels of hemoglobin in red blood cells mean that not enough oxygen can reach the brain. As a result, blood vessels in the brain can swell, causing pressure and headaches. Although there are many causes of headaches, frequent, recurrent headaches and dizziness could be a sign of iron deficiency.
SUMMARY:Headaches and dizziness could be a sign of iron deficiency. The lack of hemoglobin means not enough oxygen reaches the brain, causing its blood vessels to swell and create pressure.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU'RE IRON DEFICIENT:
If you think you have iron-deficiency anaemia, talk to your doctor, who will likely recommend more iron-rich foods (plus vitamin C to increase your iron absorption).
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