Symptoms Of A Lack Of Iron In The Blood

We require a diverse amount of nutrients to stay healthy. When we are deficient in certain nutrients, our bodies show signs and symptoms of that deficiency. Having a low iron count is once of those deficiencies that can show symptoms. Having a low iron count can lead to a problem known as iron deficiency anemia.

What Is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Iron is very important for all of the cells in the human body. It’s most important to the red blood cells. Red blood cells are needed to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin has the important job of carrying oxygen to the tissues of the body. A woman should have iron levels anywhere from 40 to 150 ug/dl to be considered healthy. A healthy range for men should be from 50 to 160 ug/dl.

What Can Cause Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Several things can cause a person to get this problem. It can occur from an improper diet. We get iron from the foods we eat, but only about one milligram of iron gets absorbed for every 10 to 20 milligrams we consume. It’s important to know which foods have a high iron count, and add them to your diet each day.

Another cause of iron deficiency is a change in the body. This is most apparent in children and young adults, as they experience many changes growing up. This cause is also found in women who are pregnant. The body goes through many changes in order to get ready for the baby’s arrival. In these instances, more iron needs to be consumed so the body can keep up with the changes it goes through.

Abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract can also cause a lack of iron. Some people have a hard time absorbing iron into their system, and the iron will just pass through without being absorbed. This can lead to a deficiency problem.

One more thing that can lead to a lack of iron is a loss of blood. People who have sustained an injury can lose a lot of blood and with it, iron. Another example is women who are menstruating. They lose a lot of blood during their cycle and could exhibit some of the symptoms of an iron deficiency.

Symptoms Of A Lack Of Iron In The Blood

There are several symptoms that could indicate a lack of iron in the body. They include the following.

  • Weakness, feeling tired, and lack of energy
  • Fast or forceful heart beat
  • Pale skin around the lining of the eyes, gums, nails, or inner mouth
  • Low blood pressure when changing position (going from a seated position to a standing position)
  • Brittle, thin, and white fingernails that grow abnormally (they have a spoon shape)
  • Abnormally heavy menstrual flow or severe menstrual pain
  • Tongue may become red, shiny, smooth, and sore
  • Decrease in appetite, especially in children
  • Frontal headaches
  • Shortness of breath when performing light exercise
  • Hair that is brittle
  • Decrease in immunity, and being more vulnerable to infections
  • A condition known as pica, a strong desire to eat strange substances such as paint, dirt, or ice
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Abdominal pain

Foods That Are High In Iron

People who have an iron deficiency can remedy the problem easily by including foods that are high in iron, or by adding an iron supplement to their diet. The foods listed below are high in iron.

  • Meats: pork, liver, lamb, beef, and other organ meats
  • Poultry: turkey, chicken, duck, especially dark meat
  • Fish: shellfish such as mussels, clams, sardines, anchovies, and oysters
  • Leafy greens: kale, broccoli, collards, and turnip greens
  • Legumes: lima beans, green peas, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, and canned baked beans
  • Rolls and whole wheat bread that contain yeast
  • Iron-enriched foods such as white pasta, white rice, white bread, and cereal

If you think you have an iron deficiency because you have any of the symptoms listed above, check with your doctor. They can run a blood test and show you what your iron levels are. If they are low, incorporate high iron foods into your diet. Iron supplements may also be needed depending on how low your levels are.