Iron deficiency, or abnormally low red blood cell levels, is the most prevalent nutritional deficiency in the whole world. It may be a micro-nutrient but iron is one of the essential elements of keeping a healthy body.
It has an important role in hemoglobin production, tissue growth, cell regeneration, and in some hormone production.
There are many reasons why iron deficiency happens such as poor digestive health, unhealthy diet, and hormonal imbalances.
Women are very susceptible because of menstruation and they can also have it during pregnancy.
Iron deficiency is so common that a lot of people tend to ignore it. They fail to see that a prolonged deficiency of this nutrient can lead to serious conditions like anemia.
A lot of its symptoms can be mistaken as signs of other illnesses so you have to be discerning in pointing them out.
Here are 20 warning signs to help you find out if you may have iron deficiency:
This sign is often overlooked because most would only say that they are just tired with so much work, lack of sleep, and stress. The unusual tiredness, though, is caused by low oxygen delivery throughout the body since iron is deficient.
The skin loses its healthy, rosy color. It can appear in the whole body or be limited on only the face, gums, inside the lower eyelids, lips, and nails.
The low oxygen levels in the brain makes it hard for a person to concentrate even on simple tasks.
The muscles don’t have enough oxygen so even normal activities like walking and climbing stairs makes you out of breath.
Frequent dizzy spells are due to the lack of oxygenated blood supply to the brain.
Often coupled with lightheadedness, headache in iron deficiency is because of the swelling of the blood vessels that causes pressure to buildup.
Metabolic waste products, like carbon dioxide, are also transported by red blood cells. The lack of iron makes this task difficult thus the cramping of muscles because of too much carbon dioxide in the cells.
Unusually fast and noticeable heartbeats are caused by the extra work that the heart has to do to compensate for the lack of oxygen in the blood.
Depleted iron reserves slows down cellular regeneration and makes muscle recovery sluggish. Active people may notice how painful the muscles are even when proper body mechanics, like stretching before a workout, are followed.
Nail tissue growth is also affected when the body is low on iron. The nails easily break and may develop ridges along its length.
A close inspection of the tongue shows paleness and appears smooth when iron levels are low.
Poor circulation due to low iron in the blood causes that uncomfortable tingling or burning feeling under the skin.
Low oxygen levels makes the muscles work harder but a considerable decline in strength is noticeable.
Aside from diminished muscle strength, the body becomes is unusually unable to keep up and sustain with activities that used to be easy and less taxing.
There are instances when the tongue develops glossitis or inflammation which makes it painful to swallow. In severe cases, a person may even have trouble with speaking because of it.
The lips grow new cells fast. An extremely dry lip is a big indicator of an iron deficiency because it is apparent that there is a problem with cell regeneration.
Sleep disorders result from a faulty sleep regulation mechanism. Iron has a role in such function thus iron- deficient people are characterized with having insomnia.
Hormones regulate the mood. When iron supply is limited, some hormones are not produced so a person manifests irrational mood swings.
While losing some hair is normal, clumps of hair falling out is a sign that the body lacks enough iron to make the hair healthy and strong. The skin will also look dry and rough.
Pica is an eating disorder that is characterized by a strong desire to eat non- food items. A person suddenly craves to eat anything he sees like paper, stone, or ice cubes.
As it was stated earlier, these symptoms can also be present with other medical conditions. The only way to confirm once you doubt if you have iron- deficiency is to submit yourself for laboratory tests and examination.
A medical doctor can help with a proper diagnosis and will prescribe sufficient supplementation should you really be iron deficient.
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