What is an iron deficiency?
Iron is a mineral which can be found in every cell of the body. It plays an important role in the process of producing hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells which is responsible for transporting oxygen to different parts of the body.
The shortage of iron in the body will gradually result in a drop in the production of red blood cells and iron deficiency anemia.
Common signs of an iron deficiency?
- Extreme Fatigue
Continuous tiredness, also called fatigue, is one of the most common signs of an iron deficiency. Fatigue happens when the red blood cells produced is not enough to carry oxygen to parts of the body. Too much iron in the blood, known as hemochromatosis, also leads to fatigue.
- Frequent Infections
Because iron has a significant influence on how the immune system works, consequently, a decrease in the level of this mineral may put people at higher risk of being infected with certain diseases.
Paleness is one of the most easily recognizable signs of an iron deficiency. Hemoglobin gives skin its rosy color, and when the level of this substance decreases, so the skin becomes lighter. In women, during their menstruation, a serious loss of blood may also leads to an iron deficiency.
Pica refers to the phenomenon of extreme craving for the consumption of non-food items such as ice, paint, cement, sand, or starch. This phenomenon often occurs among pregnant women, however, it is also considered as one of the lesser known side effects of iron lacking.
- Hair Loss
Iron deficiency, thyroid problems and a lack of other minerals in daily diet are three main causes of hair loss in women. When your body is in a shortage of iron, it channels oxygen to support vital functions, rather than keeps the hair intact, resulting in a hair loss.
- Swollen Tongue
As there is not enough oxygen for the functioning of organs in your body, some muscles must enlarge and become painful, and the tongue is the only one you can feel. Besides, cracks on the side of the mouth are other common signs of iron shortage in human.
- Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome, also called Willis-Ekbom disease, refers to a common condition of the nervous system that causes an overwhelming, irresistible urge to move the legs. Millions of Americans have to suffer from his neurological disorder each year. According to John Hopkins Medicine, the single most consistent finding associated with this condition is an iron deficiency.
- Shortness of breath
Because the process of transferring oxygen within the body does not work properly, the heart must work harder, which leads to the shortness of breath. The patients look pale and suffer from quick changes in heart rate or palpitation.