6 Signs that Your Iron is Low and What You Can Do
Find out some of the most common signs and symptoms of an iron deficiency and how you can recover.Request an Appointment
Iron is an essential mineral responsible for many important body functions. Yet, you could be one of the roughly 10 million people in the United States who suffer from an iron deficiency. Many known side effects can manifest without this mineral, including tiredness and fatigue, hair loss, and restless legs. Fortunately, there are sufficient ways to treat it and recover successfully. If you think you may be deficient, take a look at some causes and key signs that your iron is low.
6 Telltale Signs That You’re Iron Deficient
Although you can’t know for sure if you’re iron deficient without a blood test, many people experience similar symptoms. Six common signs that may point to low levels include:
1. Frequent Fatigue
Many iron deficit individuals often complain of tiredness or low energy levels. This happens because of a lack of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein found in your red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout your body. Because iron is essential for making hemoglobin, less oxygen reaches your muscles and tissues, leaving you feeling tired and run-down.
2. Pale Skin
Although limited to more moderate or severe cases, paleness is another common symptom of iron deficiency. If your body has a low amount of iron, you may appear pale throughout your entire body, or it can be limited to one particular area, including your gums, face, or inside your lips or fingernails. Just as it plays a crucial role in energy production, hemoglobin is also to blame for paleness, as it gives your blood – and skin – it’s warm and rosy complexion.
3. Hair Damage or Loss
While it’s common to lose some hair while brushing or washing, losing more than usual can indicate low iron levels. As your organs receive less oxygen with deficient iron levels, they begin functioning less and less over time, contributing to brittle hair and hair loss.
4. Shortness of Breath
Iron deficiency could be to blame if you feel winded or unable to breathe properly during everyday activities. Because hemoglobin is necessary for optimal oxygen levels, a lack of it can hinder your lung’s ability to function normally.
5. Restless Legs
According to John Hopkins Medicine, around 15 percent of individuals with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) may suffer from iron deficiency, although there is no specific cause of the syndrome. Defined as a deep urge to keep your legs moving, even during rest, RLS generally worsens with age and can negatively affect your sleep.
6. Cold Hands and Feet
Lastly, iron deficiency is said to cause cold feet and hands. Again, this is tied to lower than normal oxygen levels being transported to these body parts. As a result, you may develop poorer circulation than someone with enough iron and enough oxygen in their blood.
What Causes Iron-deficiency?
Like many vitamin and mineral deficiencies, iron deficiency isn’t tied to one specific cause. Several health problems can reduce iron absorption and put you at higher risk. Iron deficient individuals may suffer from:
- Inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and other common types of gut problems
- Kidney failure
- Congestive heart failure
- Poorly balanced diets
- Blood loss resulting from heavy periods, urinary tract bleeding, or consuming nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for extended periods
What to Do if You Think You Have Low Levels of Iron
If you think you could be suffering from iron deficiency or iron-deficiency anemia, there are several things you can do. First, see your doctor for a diagnosis. They can perform a blood test to determine if you have an iron deficiency. Once you’ve accurately been diagnosed, your doctor may suggest taking an iron supplement and eating other iron-rich foods to improve your iron stores, such as:
- red meat
- whole grains
- green leafy vegetables
Additionally, if your doctor sees fit, they may recommend an iron transfusion. Typically, individuals who have issues absorbing nutrients end up taking this route. This IV treatment therapy option transfers iron directly into the bloodstream through an intravenous device. Keep in mind that treatment and recovery times are not based on a one-size-fits-all approach. Outcomes can vary significantly from person to person.
If you’re experiencing one or many symptoms of iron deficiency in Indianapolis, IN, Supro Direct can help. Our primary care service physicians will work with you to discuss your symptoms and develop a customized treatment plan. Schedule an appointment today to get started!
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