In a daily requirement of only 8 to 18 mg ( depending on the sex and age of an individual ), iron is classified as a micronutrient. However, it is one of the most important elements of a healthy diet. Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells which is responsible for carrying oxygen through the blood stream to each cell in the human body. Iron is also essential for the growth of new tissue, cell regeneration, and even the production of some hormones. Needless to say, without an adequate supply of iron, each body feels the drain!
Despite the small amounts needed to maintain optimal health, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional disorder in the world. This is because iron is very difficult to digest. With a perfectly healthy digestive tract, the average person only gets between 14% – 18% of bioavailable iron from food. To complicate matters, many people suffer from poor digestion because of hormonal imbalances as stress and anxiety, certain medications, or a variety of other environmental factors. (Read more about digestive health in this article !) Since iron requires a healthy level of hydrochloric acid so that our bodies process, this is the main cause of iron deficiency. Other possible causes include menstruation, pregnancy, lack of proteins or insufficient calcium in the diet.
With so many common everyday factors that can lead to iron deficiency, it becomes easier to see why this disorder is so common. Unfortunately, the symptoms of iron deficiency can easily be attributed to other diseases or in some cases are so common that many people simply ignore them. Read on to learn what signs to look for which may indicate that you are among the more than 2 billion people worldwide who are affected by iron deficiency!
This is the most common symptom of iron deficiency and possibly the easiest to overlook. Fatigue is often attributed to being overworked, not getting enough sleep, stress or a long list of other common problems. However, because the red blood cells with iron deficiency can not carry enough oxygen throughout the body and all its cells need oxygen to function, iron deficiency is the leading cause of general lethargy.
2. Mood swings and irritability
Iron deficiency hinders the body’s ability to produce certain hormones. This can lead to mood swings, increased feelings of stress, anxiety and irritability. – All symptoms also are often attributed to other causes
3. Lack of concentration
When the mind and body are deprived of oxygen due to iron deficiency, one of the more subtle problems that can arise is a decrease in concentration. Again, this symptom is a fairly common occurrence with a number of other possible causes and therefore is often misdiagnosed.
The lack of oxygenated blood to the brain performed due to iron deficiency can also manifest as frequent and unexplained dizziness, as experienced when rising too fast or as a result of hyperventilation.
The human body stores iron reserves in the spleen, liver and intestines through an intracellular binding protein called ferritin. Ferritin releases iron back into the body to facilitate certain basic functions, one of which is the regulation of sleep. When the body experiences iron deficiency ferritin and iron stores are depleted, a person can develop sleep disorders such as insomnia.
6. dry or chapped lips
also release ferritin iron in skin cell regeneration and growth of new cells. For this reason, dry or chapped skin, especially around the lips is another great indicator of possible iron deficiency.
7. Brittle or Ridged nails
Like skin, iron is necessary for the growth of healthy tissue nails. If you notice that your nails have begun to break or crack easily or develop ridges that run along (not all) of your nails, this can also be a sign that your iron stores are depleted ferritin.
(did not know your nails could talk? More information about 10 warnings nails may be sending !)
8. “pins and needles”
You’re probably familiar with the feeling of “pins and needles” obtained when circulation is cut to a body part or another. While this can easily result from something as simple as sleeping with a tip at an odd angle, poor circulation can also be caused by iron deficiency in the blood and the consequent lack of oxygen reaching your extremities. If you often burning or tingling in the hands or feet is a good explanation, iron deficiency is a possible cause.
9. swelling of the tongue or sore
Iron deficiency can manifest as glositis – pain, swelling or discoloration of the tongue. If the tongue is pale or smooth, it could be lack of hemoglobin in the blood -. Result of low iron levels
10. Difficulty chewing or swallowing
Glossitis caused by iron deficiency can also make it very difficult to chew or swallow food and water, especially if the tongue becomes very swollen toward the back of the throat. In severe cases, this condition can also affect a person’s ability to speak.
11. The pallor
When the body is deficient in iron levels therefore a decrease RBCs visibly pale complexion. This is especially noticeable on the face, toes, fingers, and any other area where blood flows close to the surface of the skin.
12. unexplained headaches
The muscles of the face, neck, shoulders and deprived of oxygenated blood due to iron deficiency can cause pain or tense, resulting in frequent headaches and otherwise inexplicable.
13. aching limbs or Stiff
Iron deficiency can lead to pain in muscles and joints. This may be more evident for those who lead very active life as depleted iron deposits result in impaired cell regeneration and slower muscle recovery.
14. Muscle cramps
Red blood cells are not only responsible for delivering oxygen to cells throughout the body. They are also responsible for transporting carbon dioxide and other metabolic waste from these tissues. When levels of red blood cells fall due to iron deficiency, so does the body’s ability to expel waste products which can lead to frequent and unexplained muscle cramps.
15. The weakness and lack of resistance
Iron deficiency can cause a decrease in both muscle strength and endurance. Again, the lack of oxygenated blood required to perform the functions aerobic means the muscles have to resort to anaerobic energy production is much less sustainable and more demanding on the body.
16. Shortness of breath
Especially notable during exercise, iron deficiency can cause you to feel out of breath need faster than normal as your body’s need for oxygenated blood increased, but supply is limited.
17. Heart palpitations
the scariest of all symptoms of iron deficiency are probably heart palpitations – a fluttering sensation in the chest, throat or neck that feels like your heart is beating too hard and too fast. While heart palpitations have several possible causes when experienced on many of the other symptoms of our list, increasing your iron levels may be the key to calm them.
18. Craving NFIs
definitely the weirdest on our list symptom – Iron deficiency can cause the development of pica an eating disorder in which a person begins to crave non-food items such as paper, dirt or ice. While most of us are likely to fight the urge to snack potting soil or in the corner of an envelope, chewing ice cubes may not seem such a bad idea. However, this seemingly innocuous behavior could actually be a sign that you are not getting enough iron in your diet.
How I can be sure?
After reading over this list of symptoms, it may seem very clear to you that you are deficient in iron. However, it is important to remember that only a medical professional can perform the necessary tests absolutely confirm a deficiency.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to naturally increase iron levels. Try adding foods rich in iron, calcium and lean protein in your diet. Cut down on stimulants like caffeine and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke. To discover ten of the best natural remedies to cure a deficiency of iron, read our article here follow :. 10 Natural Remedies Easy to set your iron deficiency
The 18 warning signs that you may have an iron deficiency first appeared in Natural living ideas .