Iron is one of the most essential minerals for the human body. It helps with the production of hemoglobin, the chemical required to transport oxygen to various parts of the body and is also required for the normal functioning of enzymes. However, you’ll be surprised to know that iron deficiency – anemia happens to be
Iron is one of the most essential minerals for the human body. It helps with the production of hemoglobin, the chemical required to transport oxygen to various parts of the body and is also required for the normal functioning of enzymes. However, you’ll be surprised to know that iron deficiency – anemia happens to be a common nutrition related deficiency in the world!
The reasons for the deficiency can be varied – having a diet that contains insufficient amount of iron, having a condition where the iron is not absorbed properly into the bloodstream, suffering severe blood loss or even being pregnant. Whatever the reason, having insufficient levels of iron in the body for a prolonged period of time can have direct and indirect impacts on our overall well-being.
Hence it is important to be aware of the symptoms and signs to identify the condition so that corrective measures can be adopted where required. Here are 5 critical signs and symptoms of iron deficiency, which you need to look out for:
- Frequent fatigue and tiredness even though you haven’t done much physical activity. This occurs because oxygen is not reaching different parts of the body effectively.
- Shortness of breath, no matter how deeply you breathe. This may occur when you do something as normal as taking a short walk or doing a non-strenuous activity. The breathing usually gets back to normal when you take some rest.
- Having pale skin, or pale and brittle nails – Hemoglobin is responsible for the red color of the blood, so lack of this chemical can result in a pale color of the skin. This symptom is more easily noticeable in people with a lighter skin tone. Iron deficiency can also cause the nails to be pale or brittle since oxygen is not reaching them sufficiently.
- Increased feeling of cold – People suffering from iron deficiency will usually feel cold even in pleasant weather conditions. This occurs due to lack of oxygen, heat and other nutrients in the body.
- Frequent headaches – The iron deficiency affects even the brain since lack of oxygen can cause swelling of the brain’s arteries resulting in headaches.
Improving iron levels
Correcting for an iron deficiency is not difficult. You can easily overcome it and improve your health by:
- Eating food rich in iron such as dark green leafy vegetables, beetroot, beans, iron-fortified cereals, beef etc.
- Eating food rich in vitamin C such as berries, bell peppers, oranges to increase the absorption of iron.
If you face any of the above mentioned symptoms and improving your diet doesn’t help, consult a doctor at the earliest.