11 Signs You Have an Iron Deficiency

December 5, 2014

 

Iron Deficiency Anemia is the most common blood condition in the U.S. It affects about 3.5 million Americans. Women and people with chronic diseases. 

 

 

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common form of anemia. Red blood cells bring oxygen to the body's tissues. Healthy red blood cells are made in your bone marrow. Red blood cells circulate through your body for 3 to 4 months. Parts of your body, such as your spleen, remove old blood cells. Iron is a key part of red blood cells. Without iron, the blood cannot carry oxygen effectively. Your body normally gets iron through your diet. It also reuses iron from old red blood cells. centerforhealthservices/anemia

 

Fatigue

The most common symptom of iron deficiency, it's also possibly the most difficult one to detect. "Women are so used to having frenetic lives and feeling tired," says Nancy Berliner, MD, deputy editor of Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology. "They often just dismiss being tired as part of life." However, iron deficiency causes less oxygen to reach your tissues, so your body is deprived of the energy it needs. If your "normal" fatigue is coupled with you feeling, weak, irritable, or unable to focus, iron (or a lack thereof) might have something to do with it. After all, there's a reason people whose iron deficiency progresses into anemia are often said to have "tired blood." mentioned on health.com recent news.

 

Your head hurts

An iron-deficient body will prioritize getting oxygen to your brain before it worries about other tissues, but even then, your noggin will still get less than it ideally should, Dr. Berliner says. In response, the brain's arteries can swell, causing headaches, according to the National Headache Foundation.

 

Shortness of breath

No matter how deeply you breathe, if your oxygen levels are low, you'll feel out of air, explains Dr. Berliner. If you notice yourself getting out of breath doing things that you'd normally handle just fine—be it climbing a flight or stairs or knocking out your usual workout—iron deficiency could be to blame.

 

Pale skin

There's a reason the words "pale" and "sickly" are often used interchangeably. Hemoglobin gives your blood its red color and, thus, your skin its rosy hue. That means that low levels of the protein can suck the color straight from your skin, Dr. Moritz says. If you have a light complexion, it's pretty easy to spot. No matter your skin tone, though, if the inside of your lips, your gums, and the inside of your bottom eyelids are less red than usual, low iron may be to blame.

 

Shortness of breath 

No matter how deeply you breathe, if your oxygen levels are low, you'll feel out of air, explains Dr. Berliner. If you notice yourself getting out of breath doing things that you'd normally handle just fine—be it climbing a flight or stairs or knocking out your usual workout—iron deficiency could be to blame.

 

You have restless leg syndrome

Can't stop fidgeting? About 15% of people with restless leg syndrome have iron deficiency, according to John Hopkins Medicine. The lower the iron levels, the worse the symptoms.

 

Your heart is pounding​
An overworked heart can end up suffering from irregular heartbeats, heart murmurs, enlargement, and even heart failure. Before you freak out, don't. For things to get that bad, you would probably have to suffer from iron deficiency anemia for quite some time, suggests a review of cardiomyopathy and iron deficiency in the Texas Heart Institute Journal. However, if you know you have heart problems, it's important to get your iron levels checked as iron deficiency can worsen existing heart problems.

 

You're vegetarian or vegan

All iron is not created equal. Your body absorbs heme iron—which comes from meat, poultry, and fish—two to three times more efficiently than non-heme iron from plants, says nutritionist Rania Batayneh, author of The One One One Diet. You can still get enough iron with careful meal planning. Dark leafy greens, whole grains, and legumes are all rich in iron; pair them with vitamin-C rich foods like bell peppers, berries, and broccoli to boost your absorption.

 

You're pregnant

Folic acid deservedly gets a lot of pre-natal press, but babies-to-be also need iron, and they can steal mom's stores. What's more, many women lose a substantial amount of blood during delivery, which can lower iron counts, Dr. Moritz says. If you're pregnant with multiples, have pregnancies close together, or regularly vomit because of morning sickness, you may need to boost your iron intake.

 

You feel anxious for no reason

As if your life wasn't stressful enough, iron deficiency can trick you into feeling even more anxious. A lack of oxygen revs up your body's sympathetic nervous system, which is kind of like your body's gas pedal, Dr. Berliner says. Plus, since iron deficiency can send your heart racing, it's easy to feel like you're in fight-or-flight mode even when you have every reason to feel relaxed.

 

Brittle nails
Even the cutest mani/pedi can’t hide thin, frail fingernails and toenails. Another way your tips can tip you off to a possible iron deficiency: a concave or spoon-shaped depression in the nails.

 

Frequent infections
If you get sick often—particularly if you're always suffering from respiratory illnesses it might be lack of iron deficiency

 

 

Center for Health Services provide Sickle Cell Disease , Hemoglobin,  and Anemia screening, testing and education for all families. Anemia is a condition that develops when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a main part of red blood cells and binds oxygen. If you have too few or abnormal red blood cells, or your hemoglobin is abnormal or low, the cells in your body will not get enough oxygen. Symptoms of anemia - like fatigue - occur because organs aren't getting what they need to function properly. Anemia can be detected by a simple blood test called a complete blood cell count (CBC).​

 

For more information about anemia visit our website: centerforhealthservices/anemia

 

 

 

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