Symptoms of iron deficiency

Posted by Tanya Shukla on

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency globally. It is very common in women particularly of childbearing age. 20% of women in the UK are iron deficient.

Mild Iron deficiency happens due to decreased iron store as a result of bleeding or low dietary iron intake. Dietary interventions involving taking foods rich in iron would most likely resolve this. If mild iron deficiency is not corrected then this could lead to iron deficiency anaemia. The signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia are as follows:
  1. Feeling tired
  2. Feeling lightheaded and dizzy
  3. Brain fog (loss of focus)
  4. Sensitivity to cold
  5. Shortness of breath
  6. Pale skin
  7. Brittle nails
  8. Heart beating fast
  9. Craving for non food items such as ice, dirt and clay

Pregnant women, menstruating women, elderly and children may be prone to iron deficiency. If you have a predominantly vegetarian diet then you may also be prone to iron deficiency. Endurance athletes may also be vulnerable to iron deficiency due to break down of red blood cells at a faster rate. Iron absorption is also affected by hepcidin, a hormone that is released after exercise.

If in doubt, seek medical advice. Iron deficiency is diagnosed by a blood test which takes into account your ferritin levels. Ferritin is your body’s stored iron, which should always be more than 30 micrograms/L.

References: (Harvard University, School of Public Health)

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