8 Common Signs and Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
Your body needs iron to make a protein called hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells. Hemoglobin helps carry oxygen around the body. So lack of oxygen supply leads to lack of energy for your body.
So If your body doesn’t have enough hemoglobin, your tissues and muscles won’t get enough oxygen and won’t be able to work effectively.
What cause iron deficiency anemia?
Main causes of iron deficiency can be due to:
1. Lack of iron supply in your diet,
2. Low absorption of iron in your body, which commonly because of problem in your stomach such as stomach ulcer or chronic gastritis.
- Infants and children.
- Infants, especially those who were low birth weight or born prematurely, who don’t get enough iron from breast milk or formula may be at risk of iron deficiency.
- Frequent blood donors.
Signs & Symptoms
Iron deficiency anemia signs and symptoms may include:
1. Feeling weak and unusual fatigue due to lack of oxygen supply to your body
2. Pale skin – This is caused by lower levels of hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color.
3. Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath – low hemoglobin levels lead to poor oxygen suply to muscles and tissues effectively.
4. Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness due to lack of oxygen reaches the brain, causing its blood vessels to swell and create pressure.
5. Noticeable heartbeats (Palpitation) where the heart has to work extra hard to transport oxygen around the body.
6. Tongue becomes swollen, inflamed, pale or strangely smooth – lower levels of myoglobin can cause it to become sore, smooth and swollen. Myoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that supports your muscles, such as the muscle that makes up the tongue.
7. Dry and Damaged Hair and Skin
8. Brittle or Spoon-Shaped Fingernails (koilonychia) – an indicator of more severe iron-deficiency anemia.
To check your iron profile – click here
How to optimize your iron intake
You can reduce your risk of iron deficiency anemia by choosing iron-rich foods or by taking iron supplement.
Foods rich in iron include:
- Red meat, pork and poultry
- Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
- Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
- Iron-fortified cereals, breads, and pastas
Our body absorbs more iron from meat than it does from other sources. If you choose to not eat meat, you may need to increase your intake of iron-rich plant-based foods.
To help enhance iron absorption, you can take then together with citrus juice or eating other foods rich in vitamin C at the same time that you eat high-iron foods.
Avoid taking coffee, chocolate, and tea right after your meals or supplement as they could reduce the absorption of iron. Instead, take 2 hours prior to or after meals to give tome for better iron absorption.
Get to know your iron level
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