Due to causes ranging from blood loss to poor dietary patterns, some of us may experience an iron deficiency i.e. then the body does not have an adequate supply of iron.
Noted as one of the most common deficiencies in the world, the most well-known symptom was constant tiredness. Here are five other associated signs you can look for.
1. Frequent infections
“Red blood cells help to transport oxygen to the spleen, which is one place where infections can be fought off,” said Marilyn Murr, M.D., assistant professor of family and community medicine at the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
“When someone has an iron deficiency, the white blood cells aren’t being produced as well, and they’re not as strong because they’re not getting enough oxygen, making that person more susceptible to infections.”
2. Losing hair
Losing some amount of hair is completely normal. It is said the average person loses 100 strands of hair each day. But anything beyond and noticeably excessive could be a sign of iron deficiency anemia.
As we know, iron is needed for the transportation of oxygen. But when oxygen ceases to reach the hair follicles, it causes hair to fall out. This is why dermatologists also perform tests to measure the iron levels when treating those who are losing hair. Especially in the case of female patients, a deficiency could be the underlying issue driving hair loss.
3. Unusual cravings
Pica refers to a condition where a person starts craving unusual substances like clay, chalk, dirt, and paper among others. Research has suggested people who crave and ingest ice cubes regularly may be experiencing iron deficiency.
In a number of cases, the craving was found to be eliminated after the iron levels of the patient were restored back to normal. Over the years, this symptom was noted to be quite common in pregnant women.
4. Restless legs
Restless legs syndrome or RLS is a disorder which causes uncomfortable sensations in your legs, thus inducing a strong urge to move them. It may feel like a tingling sensation or like insects crawling over your skin.
While several medical conditions have been linked to RLS, iron deficiency is believed to be the most common one along with peripheral neuropathy. Other studies have also shown a higher prevalence of the condition among those with low iron levels.
5. Skin, tongue changes
If your tongue is swollen and has developed a smooth texture as opposed to a bumpy one, you may be experiencing an oral manifestation of iron deficiency. In addition, you may also notice changes in your skin tone.
Hemoglobin gives our blood its color which, in turn, gives our skin a reddish hue. But when red blood cells are affected by low iron levels, they as well as our skin tone become paler. Strong indicators include sudden paleness inside the lower eyelids, the lips, and the gums.