10 Disturbing Signs Your Body Is Lacking Iron

Iron deficiency, although starting out as a nuisance, can turn into a grave condition called anemia. In our everyday life we may lose iron in numerous ways, so it’s vital to know how to prevent and treat this condition.

Iron deficiency happens when the body doesn’t have enough of the mineral iron, which is responsible for producing hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen around the body. The absence of hemoglobin causes your muscles and tissues to work ineffectively, which then results in anemia.

Here at Bright Side, we did some research on the symptoms of low iron levels in order to inform you and enable you to check them for yourself.

1. Unusual fatigue:

Fatigue, is a very common symptom of iron deficiency. This is because our body is lacking the iron to produce a protein called hemoglobin in our red blood cells which is responsible for carrying the oxygen from the lungs to the other parts of the body. When our body lacks hemoglobin, it then contributes less oxygen to our muscles and tissues which results in tiredness. Tiredness is considered very normal in our daily life, so sometimes it could be more difficult to distinguish normal fatigue from the iron deficiency symptom.

However, people with iron deficiency will also experience:

  • Weakness
  • Low energy levels
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Less productivity

2. Pale skin:

​3. Shortness of breath/chest pain:

4. Dizziness and headaches:

In addition, people with iron deficiency might experience lightheadedness and dizziness. When the level of hemoglobin drops or remains steadily low the body becomes desperate for oxygen, causing these physical symptoms. Dizziness stems from the brain’s lack of oxygen or can derive from low blood pressure resulting from poor oxygenation of the heart and blood vessels.

5. Heart palpitations:

6. Hair and skin damage:

7.Swelling/soreness of the tongue and mouth:

8. Brittle fingernails:

9. Restless legs:

If the​ nerve cells become damaged, the amount of dopamine in the brain is reduced, which causes muscle spasms and involuntary movements. Dopamine levels naturally fall towards the end of the day, which may explain why the symptoms of restless legs syndrome are often worse in the evening and during the night. ​

10. Abdominal pain & blood in the urine:

Intravascular hemolysis, a condition caused by iron deficiency, is where red blood cells break down in the blood stream and they release iron that is then lost in the urine. This sometimes occurs in people who engage in intense exercise, particularly jogging, and it can cause trauma to small blood vessels in the feet, which is called “march hematuria.”

Secondary signs of iron deficiency:

These symptoms tend to be less common and can be linked to other conditions as well:
  • Unusual cravings: There is a condition called “pica,” in which the patient has an unusual craving to eat items without any nutritional value. This can be unharmful items like ice, however some people might have a craving for more harmful items like, dried paint, dirt, or different metals. This disorder is usually temporary and it mostly occurs in children and pregnant women.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety is another symptom that can be associated to iron deficiency but this symptom only develops in people with chronic anemia. People with iron deficiency have higher rates of psychiatric disorders (particularly ADHD) and developmental disorders. There is a growing body of evidence proving that iron deficiency causes these problems and is not just a chance association.

  • Cold hands and feet: People suffering from anemia lose blood circulation in their outer extremities at the slightest change in temperature. This results in constant cold hands and feet. There is not enough oxygen to travel to the main organs of the body and our extremities are left without enough oxygen causing them to be cold.
  • Frequent infections: Not only can it be more difficult for the body to resist infection when a person has iron deficiency, but it can also be harder to fight off infection once it occurs. Anemia is associated with impairment of innate (natural) immunity and cell mediated immunity, thereby contributing to increased risk of infection.

If you believe your iron levels are not what they should be, the best thing to do is head to the doctor where they can test your iron levels. If that option is too expensive for you, try giving blood. In order to be accepted as a blood donor, the technicians will test the levels of hemoglobin in your blood with a finger prick.

Always talk to your doctor before starting or stopping a supplement like iron. They can advise you about whether you need to take it all, whether it’s safe, and the proper dosage to take.

Have you ever noticed any of the above symptoms? Have you had yourself checked for iron deficiency? Share your experience in the comments and let others be warned too!

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