9 symptoms that indicate an iron deficiency Health

9 symptoms that indicate an iron deficiency

A deficiency of iron can cause issues like dizziness and fatigue as several internal functions, such as supporting oxygen transportation in the blood, are affected. This nutrient is also necessary for the health of tissues, the production of hormones, and proper cell functioning and development. When one’s deficient in iron, it can cause conditions like anemia. These nine symptoms are potentially major indicators of low iron levels in the body:  

Heart palpitations
A noticeable pattern of changes in a heartbeat is one of the prevalent symptoms of low iron. Experts are researching the relationship between anemia, iron deficiency, and heart problems. But there is a direct connection with the oxygen supply. Typically, people with heart palpitations have some form of irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrhythmia. Although this symptom of low iron is not life-threatening, it may indicate a severe heart problem. This issue can further result in rapidly irregular heartbeats that feel too strong and the sensation of skipping a beat. 

Fatigue is not equivalent to tiredness, but it can make getting out of bed in the morning quite challenging and can intervene with everyday tasks. Such a symptom is more prevalent in people with low iron levels. Fatigue can occur when the body lacks the iron necessary to make a protein known as hemoglobin, responsible for carrying oxygen around the body. Low hemoglobin levels mean less oxygen reaches the muscles and tissues. Hence, the body lacks the necessary energy and makes the heart work harder to travel oxygen-rich blood around the body. It might further result in difficulty concentrating, irritability, and weakness.

Skin paleness
Several factors determine skin color, including melanin content, thickness, and the degree of blood flowing to the skin. Also known as pallor, paleness is an unusual skin color lightness compared to the skin’s normal complexion. Skin paleness is not the same as having natural light skin, as it’s caused by lower red blood cells and reduced oxygen and blood flow. Such a symptom can be localized or appear all over the skin. If one experiences a paleness in the limb or generalized paleness, visit a doctor immediately as it’s a major symptom of low iron.

Dry and damaged skin and hair
Damaged or dry hair and skin are also iron deficiency signs. Of course, it is normal for some hair to fall out daily while brushing and washing. But if one notices clumps of hair falling off, it may be one of the symptoms of low iron. In some people, low iron levels cause excessive hair loss. It is also associated with low hemoglobin levels in the blood, lowering the oxygen level available in the cells responsible for hair growth. When hair and skin do not have ample oxygen, they become weak and dry. Fortunately, this hair loss is not permanent and can be treated by addressing the underlying cause.  

Restless legs
Low iron levels also result in restless leg syndrome. In this condition, one experience an urge to move the legs even while they are at rest. It can cause an itching or an unpleasant crawling sensation in the legs and the feet. The condition is worse at night, making it challenging to sleep well. Unfortunately, there is no clarity on the real cause of primary restless leg syndrome. But it often occurs secondary to several medical conditions like iron deficiency. Studies suggest that people with iron deficiency are six times more likely to experience restless leg syndrome than everyone else.

Shortness of breath
Low hemoglobin levels imply that the muscles do not receive ample oxygen to perform routine activities like walking. Consequently, the body attempts to get more oxygen, and the breathing rate increases resulting in shortness of breath.  

In menstruating females, iron deficiency can result in headaches. Altered estrogen levels and reduced dopamine function are often the cause of headaches. Of course, there are several reasons for headaches, but recurrent and frequent headaches may be associated with iron deficiency.

Swelling and soreness of the mouth and tongue
Changes on the outside or inside of the tongue may indicate an iron deficiency. Some related symptoms include a strangely smooth, pale, inflamed, or swollen tongue. It can also cause mouth ulcers, red cracks at the corners of the mouth, a burning feeling in the mouth, and dry mouth. 

Spoon-shaped or brittle fingernails
This iron deficiency sign is less common, and the condition is known as koilonychia. Brittle fingernails or nails that crack and chip easily are typically the first symptoms of low iron. Spoon-shaped nails usually appear in the later iron deficiency stages. 

To deal with any worrisome symptoms of low iron, instantly make an appointment with a doctor.