Iron deficiency, although starting out as a nuisance, can develop into a serious condition called anemia. In our daily lives, we can lose iron in several ways, so it is vital to know how to prevent and treat this condition.
Iron deficiency occurs when the body does not have enough mineral iron, responsible for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that allows them to transport oxygen throughout the body.
The absence of hemoglobin causes your muscles and tissues to function ineffectively, resulting in anemia. We investigated the symptoms of low iron levels to report and let you check them yourself.
Iron Deficiency Signs And Symptoms
8. Unusual Fatigue
Fatigue is a very common symptom of iron deficiency. This is because our bodies do not have iron to make a protein called hemoglobin in our red blood cells, which is responsible for the transport of oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.
When our body lacks hemoglobin, it provides less oxygen to our muscles and tissues, resulting in tiredness.
Fatigue is considered very normal in our daily life; therefore, it can sometimes be more difficult to distinguish normal fatigue from the symptom of iron deficiency.
However, people with iron deficiency will also have:
- Low energy levels
- Difficult to focus
- Less productivity
7. Pale Skin
The hemoglobin in our red blood cells is what gives our skin a healthy pink color. Due to a lack of iron, the human body cannot produce enough hemoglobin for red blood cells to contribute to the rest of the body, resulting in pale skin.
Regardless of your skin tone, if the inside of your lips, gums, nails, and the inside of your lower eyelids are less red than usual, low iron content may be to blame.
6. Shortness Of Breath/chest Pain
Shortness of breath or chest pain, especially with activity, is another symptom of iron deficiency. Due to the fact that hemoglobin is limited in red blood cells, the oxygen that is distributed to the rest of the body is limited, so our body tries to compensate and produce more oxygen for our organs to function properly, which results in shortness of breath.
5. Dizziness and Headaches
Lack of iron can also cause headaches or migraines. This is due to the fact that oxygen does not reach the brain, causing the blood vessels to swell, causing pressure that causes a headache or migraine.
Also, people with iron deficiency may experience dizziness and lightheadedness. When the hemoglobin level drops or remains constantly low, the body is desperate for oxygen, causing these physical symptoms.
Dizziness is due to a lack of oxygen in the brain, or it may be the result of low blood pressure as a result of poor oxygenation of the heart and blood vessels.
4. Heart Palpitations
Irregular heartbeat, also known as heart palpitations, can be another symptom of iron deficiency. This is because low hemoglobin levels mean that the heart needs to work harder to transport oxygen to the rest of the body.
This can cause an abnormal heartbeat or the feeling that your heart is beating irregularly. In extreme cases, this can lead to heart failure.
But these symptoms usually appear later, people with iron deficiency suffer various symptoms before experiencing heart palpitations.
3. Hair And Skin Damage
Hair and skin are considered secondary functions for our body. This is because our body prioritizes the limited supply of oxygen to the most important functions, such as organs and tissues.
When the skin and hair are iron-free, they become dry and more fragile. Lack of protein called ferritin is known to cause these problems because it is essential for the process of iron storage and release in all parts of the body over time.
Low iron stores increase the rate of hair loss, especially in non-menopausal women.
2. Swelling/soreness Of The Tongue And Mouth
Looking in the mouth can give us many clues about our health. Iron deficiency is one of them. For example, if the tongue looks swollen, inflamed, or discolored, this is an indication of iron deficiency.
In our body, we have a protein called myoglobin, which is an iron and oxygen-binding protein found in the muscle tissue of the tongue.
Lower levels of myoglobin can cause pain, swelling, and inflammation of the tongue. Iron deficiency can also lead to dry mouth and sore red cracks at the corners of the mouth.
1. Brittle Fingernails
Brittle nails are a much less common symptom of iron deficiency that appears in the later stages of anemia. This condition is called koilonychia.
Koilonychia is a disease of the nails, in which the nails become abnormally thin and lose their convexity, becoming flat or even concave.
In the early stages, the nails can become brittle and easily chip or break. This condition begins to appear in the middle of the nail when it falls and the edges are raised to give a rounded appearance like a spoon.
Have you noticed any of the above symptoms? Have you been checked for iron deficiency? Share your experience in the comments and let others know too!