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 that iron deficiency is among the most commonly found nutritional disorders 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. One of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency is very rarely recognized.


However, due to iron deficiency, the tissues get less oxygen. Therefore your body does not get the energy it needs too much. Along with fatigue, if you are feeling weak, annoying or unable to focus, it might be a symptom of iron deficiency.


Therefore, people who develop iron deficiency 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 transports 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 your body does not get enough oxygen, it will make you susceptible to infections.

Pale skin and pale hue inside the lower eyelids is another common symptom of iron deficiency. The haemoglobin 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 is called pagophagia. It is a type of pica, an eating disorder that attracts affected people to eat foods that do not contain any nutritional content.


People affected by pagophagia consume several cups or pounds of ice in a day. Studies show that people suffering from iron deficiency believe that eating ice can give them energy.

  • Hair loss


Iron deficiency when progress to anaemia can lead to hair loss. When the hair follicles do not get enough oxygen, they go into the halt phase and hence our hair falls out. It doesn't come back until anaemia improves.


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 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.


If you are losing too much blood, you can try a tampon test to check for this. If you have been changing tampons every two hours, then you should contact your gynaecologist immediately.

  • Shortness of breath

Haemoglobin 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 only, shortness of breath is a common symptom in those people who are suffering from 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. This is another symptom of iron deficiency in the body. Haemoglobin carries oxygen to various parts of the body.


During iron deficiency, your body has low levels of haemoglobin. 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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