Signs of an Iron Deficiency

Iron is essential to our health. This mineral is an important component of hemoglobin which is the substance in our red blood cells that carries oxygen from our lungs and transports it to every cell in our bodies.

Iron deficiency anemia is the term used to describe having insufficient amounts of iron in our bodies.  If we don’t have enough iron, we are incapable of making adequate amounts of healthy, oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Iron is also needed to promote the health of our skin, hair and nails.  A deficiency can result in skin problems as well as brittle nails and hair loss.

Symptoms of a deficiency tend to appear and intensify with severity.  People with low to moderate anemia may not experience symptoms but as the body becomes more deficient they may experience:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • A sore tongue
  • Frequent infections
  • Pale skin
  • Pica( Craving non-nutritive substances such as dirt and chalk)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is advised that you see a doctor as soon as possible.  Your doctor will order tests to determine if you are iron deficient and investigate underlying causes.  If there is an underlying cause for your deficiency such as an iron-absorption problem, he or she will treat it accordingly.   Your doctor may also recommend taking supplements or adding foods that are rich in iron such as spinach to your diet.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.