If your body does not get enough iron, you can become iron deficient. If you are, you can develop abnormally low levels of red blood cells.
Your body needs iron to create hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells, which allow the cells to carry oxygen to different parts of the body. However, if your body lack these proteins, your muscles and tissues will lack the right amount of oxygen. The effect is that they will not work optimally and you can develop the condition of anemia.
The reasons for iron deficiency could be that your diet is unhealthy and unbalanced. Besides a poor diet, you could also be suffering of inflammatory bowel disease; alternatively, you could have an iron deficiency due to pregnancy, or blood loss during periods or internal bleeding.
Iron deficiency, irrespective of the cause, can affect your quality of life. Ranging from poor concentration, health and your productivity.
Here are the 10 symptoms that could tell you that you have an iron deficiency problem
Feeling strangely tired
Unusual tiredness is one of the commonest signs that you could be suffering of iron deficiency. If so, then you could have a problem with your hemoglobin production. Due to this process, you will lack energy, and you will need to heart work harder leaving you feeling worn-out.
The feeling of tiredness will normally be with a feeling of being in a foul mood, lacking concentration and your productivity levels will be low.
Having a pale appearance
Another common symptom of iron deficiency is a pale skin or having a pale coloring of the inside of the lower eyelids. Red blood cells gets their color from hemoglobin. If you are anemic, you will lack your rose color and appear pale. The paleness can be limited for instance to just the face or gums, or it can be all over your body.
An easy way to test if your skin color is healthy is to pull your eyelids down. The inside of the eyelids should be a bright red color. If the color is pale pink or even yellow, you could have an iron deficiency problem.
Shortness of breath
When there is a malfunction with your hemoglobin process that makes red blood cells carry oxygen to different parts of your body, the oxygen levels will be low. The implication is that your muscles will lack oxygen to manage normal acts like walking. Thus, your breathing rate will escalate as your body attempts to acquire additional oxygen.
Shortness of breath is a common symptom that you could be iron deficient. This being since your hemoglobin levels are not functioning correctly and your tissues and muscles are starving of oxygen.
Suffering from headaches and dizziness
Although less common than the other signs, a lack of iron could cause headaches, which is normally grouped with dizziness or lightheaded. This is since your body lacks the oxygen that should be spread through your system, and to the brain, with your red blood cells. The lack of oxygen can cause the blood vessels in the brain to dilate, which in turn will cause headaches and pressure.
Another sign that you could have an iron deficiency is, heart palpitations. This since, iron deficiency there is a low level of hemoglobin so the heart needs to work harder to carry the oxygen around. From a strange fast heart beat to irregular heartbeats, it should not be taken lightly as it can lead to an enlarged heart, heart failure, or a heart murmur.
Damaged and dry hair and skin
Having dry skin and hair that is damages easy, can be symptoms of iron deficiency. Your hair, for instance, needs oxygen to remain healthy. If it is deprived of oxygen, it can become dry and break. This can also lead to hair loss in severe cases.
Tongue that is swollen, and a sore tongue and mouth
A swollen tongue, which also appears inflamed, pale and oddly smooth, can all be symptoms of an iron deficiency. This is since low hemoglobin in iron deficiency could lead to the tongue becoming pale, while lower levels of myoglobin could make it feel sore, smooth and swollen. The protein, myoglobin, which is found in red blood cells, supports your muscles, and your tongue is a muscle.
In addition, a lack of iron can bring about symptoms such as a dry mouth, as well as mouth ulcers and red cracks at the corner of your mouth that can be sore.
Iron deficiency has been linked to restless leg syndrome. Restless leg syndrome is a strong urge to move your legs at rest. It can also cause unpleasant and strange crawling or itchy sensations in the feet and legs. It is usually worse at night, meaning that sufferers may struggle to get much sleep.
The causes of restless leg syndrome are not fully understood. However, up to 25% of people with restless leg syndrome are thought to have iron-deficiency anemia or lower the iron levels then the worse the symptoms.
Brittle or spoon-shaped fingernails
A much less common symptom of iron deficiency is brittle or spoon-shaped fingernails, a condition called koilonychia. This often starts with brittle nails that chip and crack easily.
In later stages of iron deficiency, spoon-shaped nails can occur where the middle of the nail dips and the edges are raised to give a rounded appearance like a spoon. However, this is a rare side effect and usually only seen in severe cases of iron-deficiency anemia.
Other potential signs
Other symptoms to look out for if you think you might be iron-deficiency anemia are:
Odd cravings: Having pica, which is a longing for bizarre foods or non-food items. This condition happens when people crave ice, clay, dirt, chalk or paper and it can be a symptom of iron deficiency. This condition can also happen during pregnancy.
Being anxious: Anxiety can occur if there is a lack of oxygen available to body tissues in iron deficiency patients. Once the iron levels are corrected, then this trend will be revolve or at least improve.
Cold feet and hands: Iron deficiency means a smaller amount oxygen is being distributed to the feet and hands.
Suffering more infections: Iron is needed for a healthy immune system, being anemic mean you could catch more illnesses.
Iron-deficiency anemia is a common sort of anemia globally. Some people have evident symptoms, while others experience none at all. This often hinge on on the sternness of the anemia.
Common signs and symptoms include tiredness, pale skin, noticeable heartbeats, headaches and dizziness, feeling short of breath, dry and damaged hair and skin, sore or swollen tongue and mouth, restless legs and brittle or spoon-shaped nails.
If you think you have symptoms of iron deficiency, be sure to visit your doctor. Self-diagnosing is not recommended.
Luckily, most forms of iron deficiency can be treated easily, usually through an iron-rich diet or iron supplements, if your doctor recommends them.