At the beginning of this article you must know that iron deficiency anemia is a condition characterized by a decrease in red blood cells. This condition usually occurs due to having too low iron levels in your body. In addition you need to know that this lack of iron makes the body unable to produce hemoglobin, which is crucial for the red blood cells to carry the oxygen to all tissues.
Also you need to know that anyone can develop this condition. However there are certain groups of people who are more prone to this condition than others. Namely people who do not eat meat, which means vegetarians and vegans, have greater chance of developing iron deficiency anemia than other people. This is because meat is the biggest source of iron.
Due to the loss of blood during menstruation, we can also say that women are particularly at risk. Also during the pregnancy, women must share their iron store with the fetus. Another risk group are surely the blood donors, mainly because they give too much of their iron stores.
Iron Deficiency Anemia Symptoms
1. Fatigue or/ and Weakness
If you are constantly feeling tired, and feel unexplained fatigue and muscle weakness which does not go away even after getting a good rest, then it is most likely that your blood iron levels are low.
2. Headache, Dizziness or Light-headedness, Especially Upon Standing
At this point you need to know that as soon as you stand up your blood pressure drops. Now in case you already lack oxygen, the standing can even reduce the oxygen level in your brain. This usually leads to light-headedness, dizziness or headache.
3. Shortness of Breath
Constant shortness of breath, particularly when doing some day-to-day activity or when climbing the stairs is usually a sign of anemia. What we recommend is more cardio workout.
4. Getting Frequent Infections
In addition, it is very important for you to know that low hemoglobin levels can lead to frequent infections. In most of the cases these infections happen suddenly despite the proper care and they also take forever to heal.
5. Cold Hands and Feet
You know it is time to boost your iron intake, when your fingers and toes are always freezing. More layers of clothes will not solve the problem. Boost your blood iron levels.
6. Weak and Brittle Nails
At this point you also need to know that the iron deficiency also affects your nails. Also the iron deficiency affects any other nutrient deficiency as well. As you probably know healthy and strong nails are a sign of proper nutrition. On the other hand brittle and weak nails are a sign of iron deficiency.
7. Increased Heartbeat
Your heart can also be affected by the iron deficiency anemia. Namely in most of the cases the iron deficiency leads to a faster heartbeat in order to supply the cells with more oxygen.
8. Unusual Cravings
Usually when you are having all those unhealthy cravings that is your body telling you that something is wrong. What your body is trying to tell you is that it lacks certain nutrient. Therefore if you are craving for chalk, ice or dirt, remember that is your body telling you that you are lacking iron!
9. Chest Pain
One thing you must know, pain in the chest can be a symptom of different conditions, like cardiac event or anemia. Whatever the cause is, you must seek medical attention immediately.
10. Restless Leg Syndrome
This symptom is a very uncomfortable feeling, which in most of the cases is accompanied with tingling and crawling feeling in the legs or butt. In most of the cases this unbearable feeling is a sign of iron deficiency.
What To Do?
The key to preventing the iron deficiency is surely the healthy nutrition and well balanced diet. This means that you need to include more iron-rich food in your diet, like leafy greens, meat, eggs, fish, bread, iron-fortified cereals and milk.
Another option is supplementation. However before you even consider supplementation you need to consult with you doctor.