Sign and symptoms of iron deficiency (Anemia) - LIVE HEALTHY

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May 17, 2020

Sign and symptoms of iron deficiency (Anemia)

Did you know, deficiency of iron is one of the most common nutritional disorder in the world? Your body needs a sufficient source of iron to produce haemoglobin. The blood component is responsible for transporting oxygen to different parts of your body. When there's an iron deficiency, it suffers from a condition called anaemia. Initially or in mild cases, the symptoms of iron deficiency can’t recognize easily.

Sign and symptoms of iron deficiency (Anemia)

There's a general lack of awareness about iron deficiency. Because of this lack of awareness, many people around the world suffer from iron deficiency. Here are some sign and symptoms that indicate the deficiency of iron in the body.


Symptoms of iron deficiency(Anemia)

Sign and symptoms of iron deficiency (Anemia)

  • Fatigue

After taking proper rest, if you are feeling exhausted all the time, it may be an indication of your body that you are anaemic. This is one of the most common symptoms of an iron deficiency but the most difficult one to identify.


However, because of iron deficiency, your tissues get less oxygen. So your body is being underprivileged of the energy it needs. Along with fatigue, if you are feeling weak, annoying or unable to focus, it might be a symptom of iron deficiency.


Therefore, people whose iron deficiency progresses into anaemia are said to have tired blood.

  • Frequent infections

Iron plays a vital role to maintain your immune health. So if your body has a deficiency of iron, it can lead you more susceptible to infections. RBC carries oxygen to the spleen.


Spleen is one of the places where infections can be defended. Due to the lack of oxygen, the spleen doesn’t function properly. RBC also carry oxygen to the lymph nodes.


When you have symptoms of iron deficiency, less white blood cells produce in your body. As a result, you will feel weak. Since you are not getting enough oxygen, it will make you more susceptible to infections.

  • Pale skin

Pale skin and pale hue inside the lower eyelids is another common symptom of iron deficiency. The hemoglobin in red blood cells gives your blood its red colour.


So low levels during iron deficiency make your blood little less red. Aa a result, your body loses its healthy rosy colour. This pale colouring can be observed all over the body or it can be limited to one area such as your face, gums, inside of your lips or lower eyelids and even on your nails.


This is often one of the first things a doctor will look for as a sign of iron deficiency. Paleness can be observed in moderate or severe cases of anaemia.


If you pull your lower eyelid down, there should be a vibrant red colour inside. If you see pale pink or yellow colour, this may be a symptom of iron deficiency.

  • Chewing ice

Craving of ice, unusual but another symptom of iron deficiency. This condition called pagophagia. It is a form of pica, an eating disorder that causes people to eat substances that have no nutritional value.


People with pagophagia can consume several cups or pounds of ice every day. The study suggests that eating ice may boost the energy of those suffering from iron deficiency.

  • Hair loss

Iron deficiency when progress to anaemia can lead to hair loss. When hair follicles don't get sufficient oxygen, they go into halt phase and hence hair falls out. It doesn't grow back until anemia is improved.


Losing about a hundred strands of hair per day is considered normal. However, if you are losing excessive hair every day while its growth rate is very less, this may be a symptom of iron deficiency.

  • Heavy periods in women

In women, the heavy period is the most common cause of the iron deficiency. They lose a considerable amount of blood to replace about half of it and then lose too much again in the next month.


You can try tampon test to check if you're losing too much blood. If you have to change your tampon more frequently than every two hours then contact your gynaecologist.

  • Shortness of breath

Hemoglobin enables RBC to carry oxygen in different parts of the body. When there are the symptoms of iron deficiency in your body, oxygen levels will also below.


Therefore, your muscles won't get enough oxygen to do normal activities such as walking, running etc. As your body tries to get more oxygen, your heart rate will increase.


Due to this reason, shortness of breath is one of the most common symptoms in those with iron deficiency. Doing normal daily tasks such as walking, climbing stairs, if you find yourself out of breath, iron deficiency could be a reason.

  • Heart palpitations

Heart palpitations are a feeling in which your heart is beating too hard or too fast. It is another symptom of iron deficiency. Hemoglobin helps to transport oxygen within the body.


During iron deficiency, your body has low levels of hemoglobin. That means, your heart is doing extra hard work to carry oxygen. This can cause abnormal heartbeats or a feeling that your heart is beating too fast.


In serious cases, it can cause enlarged heart, heart murmur and sometimes heart failure also. However, these symptoms are very rare.

  • Cold hands and feet

If your fingers and toes are consistently cold, it could be a symptom of iron deficiency. When there is a deficiency of iron in your body, it experiences less amount of oxygen in your blood.


As a result, it pulls blood away from your extremities and instead sends more to your essential organs such as your brain, heart, kidneys, liver and lungs. Because of less blood flow to your fingers and toes, it becomes colder.

  • Restless leg syndrome

It is another symptom of lack of iron in your body. In this syndrome, there is a strong urge to move your legs at rest. It can also cause unpleasant and strange crawling or itching sensations on your feet or legs.


It's usually worse at night. Sufferers will struggle to get their sleep. The cause of restless leg syndrome is not fully understood, however, up to 25% of people with restless leg syndrome are thought to have iron deficiency anaemia and the lower the iron level.

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