Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency has various symptoms. This article will describe some of them.

Iron deficiency is a decrease in the red cells of blood as a result of lack of iron in the blood. The causes can be too little iron in the diet, poor absorption of iron by the body or loss of blood. It is also caused by lead poisoning in children. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in USA. It results when the body loses more iron than it ingests.

Iron is the main ingredient in hemoglobin which is found in red blood cells and is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Without enough iron, body is unable to produce enough hemoglobin and as a result of this muscles get less oxygen which reduces the body energy.

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common form of anemia. It occurs slowly when the normal stores of iron are quite low in the body. To produce red blood cells, the body needs, iron, folic acid and vitamin B12. If there is a lack of one or more of these things, anemia will evolve. It must be remembered that anemia is the last result of chronic iron deficiency.

The symptoms of iron deficiency are:

- Lack of energy, feeling tired and weakness.

- Pale skin on the lining of the eyes, the inner mouth, gums and the nails.

- Rapid and forceful heart beat.

- Low blood pressure with position change, from sitting to standing up.

- Finger nails become thin, brittle and white. They may grow abnormally and get a spoon-shaped appearance.

- Severe menstrual pain and bleeding.

- Tongue may become sore, smooth, shiny and reddened.

- Decreased appetite especially in children.

- Headache - frontal-

- Shortness of breath during exercise. (even during a simple exercise like walking)

- Brittle hair.

- Reduction in immunity and increased vulnerability to infection.

- A strong desire to eat nonfoods such as ice, paint or dirt. A condition called pica.

- Disturbed sleep.

- Abdominal pain.

These symptoms are quite general and could also indicate other health problems or blood disorders. Therefore, if a person has these symptoms he/she should talk to a doctor before taking any iron pills. Taking too much iron can actually be unhealthy.

To diagnose iron deficiency anemia, CBC -complete blood test- is used. Other common lab tests are serum ferritin or serum iron, which examines the proteins involved in the storage and transport of iron through the body, stool occult blood test and TIBC -total iron binding capacity- These tests will determine whether a person has an iron deficiency and the degree of its severity.

A person suffering from iron deficiency can be cured by some relatively simple and effective treatments like taking iron supplements (tablets, capsules and injections) and increasing iron from food sources (liver, meat, beans, nuts, dried fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry, green leafy vegetables and enriched cereals). Once the disease and its causes are detected, it is not difficult to prevent it.

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