Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the modern world, and women are among those at highest risk. Iron is critical for the production of hemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to all over the body. So without it, everything suffers – and can lead to anemia.
Check these symptoms of iron deficiency, and if you have them, ask a ferritin test, which measures the storage of iron in your body.
You feel exhausted
The most common symptom of iron deficiency is likely to be the most difficult to detect. “Women are so used to have frenetic lives and to feel tired,” said Nancy Berliner, PhD, deputy editor of the journal Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology. “They often resent the fact of being tired as part of life.” However iron deficiency makes less and less oxygen to reach tissues, so the body is deprived of the energy it needs. If your “normal” fatigue is coupled with the feeling of being weak, irritable and unable to concentrate, iron (or lack thereof) might have something to do with it. After all, there’s a reason why they say that people whose iron deficiency progresses to anemia are said to have “tired blood”.
There’s a reason the words “pale” and “morbid” are often used interchangeably. Hemoglobin gives blood its red color so your skin has a pinkish hue. That means that the low levels of the protein can withdraw directly from your skin color, says Moritz. If you have a lighter shade of skin, this is fairly easy to detect. It doesn’t matter the skin color if the inner sides of your lips, eyelids, and gums are less red than usual; then low iron content could be responsible for this.
You experience breath shortness
It doesn’t matter how deep you inhale, if your oxygen level is low, you’ll feel airless, says Berliner. If you notice shortness of breath doing stuff that you usually do without any problems – be it by climbing stairs or exercising your usual physical – could be the iron deficiency problem.
An overworked heart can get to suffer from arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), heart murmur, heart enlargement and even heart failure. Because things become so badly probably have to suffer from anemia due to iron deficiency for quite some time, suggests a review of the issue made in Texas Heart Institute Journal / Texas Heart Institute Journal. However, if you know you have heart problems, it is important to check your blood levels for iron deficiency, in order not to worsen existing heart problems.
You have restless leg syndrome
Can you not stop from tossing and turning? About 15% of people with restless leg syndrome have an iron deficiency, according to John Hopkins Medicine. The lower the iron levels, the more severe are the symptoms.
You have a headache
A body with iron deficiency will give priority to send oxygen to the brain before worrying other tissues, but even then, your brain will get less than it ideally should, Berliner says. In response to this, the arteries will dilate the brain, causing headaches, according to the National Headache Foundation / National Headache Foundation.
You feel anxious (anxious) for no reason
As if your life was not stressful enough, iron deficiency can fool you to feel even more nervous or anxious. A lack of oxygen speeds up the sympathetic nervous system, which is kind of the gas pedal of your body, says Berliner. In addition, because iron deficiency makes your heart beats fast, it is easy to feel like you are in fight-or-flight mode, even if you have every reason to feel relaxed.
You lose your hair
Iron deficiency, especially when full progresses to anemia caused by iron deficiency can lead to hair loss. “You send your body into survival mode, so your body directs oxygen to support vital functions, opposing those who keep your hair intact,” explains Moritz. Do not panic though if you see just a few hairs in the bathtub drain. Most scalps lose about 100 hairs a day.
You have a thyroid that functions under normal parameters
Iron deficiency slows thyroid function and boost metabolism, blocks the effects of this gland that has, according to the National Academy of Hypothyroidism / National Academy of Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is often overlooked – six out of ten people with thyroid disease do not know they have it, according to the American Association of Thyroid – so if you notice a low energy, weight gain or even a lower temperature of the body, take it into account.
You are pregnant
Folic acid rightly gets more attention in the press about the prenatal stage, but future babies also need iron, so they can steal from mother’ stocks. What is even more important, many women lose a substantial amount of blood in the time of pregnancy, which can lower iron levels in their body, says Moritz. If you are pregnant with twins or you throw up regularly due to the state of morning sickness, you may need to increases your iron intake.
The language looks weird
Besides the changing color of the tongue, low iron can reduce levels of myoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that support healthy muscle and the muscles that constitute tongue. As a result, many people who complain that iron deficiencies have painful, inflamed or plain weird tongues.
You have celiac disease or inflammatory bowel syndrome
Even if you get enough iron through diet, celiac and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can lead to problems such as nutrients absorption, including iron. This disease causes inflammation in the digestive tract and injuries. If you have been diagnosed with any of these gastrointestinal diseases talk with your doctor about how you can increase iron absorption.
How to gain more iron
Iron requirements are not the same for everyone, especially for women. Women between 19 and 50 years typically need 18 mg a day. However, if you’re pregnant, the amount increases to 27 mg. If you are breastfeeding, you should be given only 9 mg. In addition, the difficulty of the menstrual period can he affect your iron needs. Are your more than 50 years old and confront with menopause? You only need 8 mg per day. That is not an elusive target – a single serving of lentils, spinach or peas can all touch your score at least a few milligrams. Other good sources of iron are:
- Burdock root iron deficiency
- Dark leafy greens
- Most berries
And if it comes to iron, more is not necessarily better. Although most attention is focused on iron deficiency, there are concerns about the overload. Studies indicate that can harm internal organs and can increase the risk of diabetes, heart attack and cancer, especially in older people.