Did you know that iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world? Approximately 10 million people in the USA suffer from a lack of iron. It’s not always hard to spot as the symptoms match tons of other deficiencies and illnesses, not to mention regular ole’ fatigue. Iron deficiency is pretty much what it says on the tin – a lack of iron in the body. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t use its red blood cells to carry oxygen around and deliver it to your vital organs. Although it sounds scary, mild cases can usually be rectified with the use of iron deficiency supplements or even a simple change in diet. Read on to see if you may have fallen prey to this super common but potentially serious nutrient deficiency.
1. Extreme Exhaustion
If you’re feeling really tired but still sleeping decent hours and eating well, you may be iron deficient. Monitor your sleeping pattern and look out for any changes you’re making to your routine. Your tiredness may just be down to not catching enough Zzz’s but if you can’t find anything out of the ordinary in your usual day-to-day, see a doctor about possible low iron levels.
Similar to exhaustion, if you’re constantly feeling drained and weak you may have insufficient iron in your body. If you’re used to pumping out regular weights sessions but now struggle to get out of bed, book a doctor’s appointment.
3. Weird Cravings
I’m sure you know that pregnant women often have weird cravings for non-food items. This is called Pica and is prevalent in pregnant women as their iron levels are typically lower than average. This is because they have to create double the amount of iron to provide oxygen to the baby. Often, these women will need to take plenty of iron tablets to give their levels a boost whilst they’re expecting. However, I bet you don’t know that mild Pica can be common amongst many people who have insufficient iron levels. If you’re suddenly desperate to much ice or eat dirt, this could be why!
4. Chest Pain
Shortness of breath and/or chest pain is more commonly associated with heart attacks but can be a sign of low iron levels. As the body struggles to carry oxygen around through healthy red blood cells, your heart has to work much harder to pump the blood. This can be one of the more serious symptoms of iron deficiency if left untreated, it could lead to irregular heartbeats or even heart failure. If you feel as though you’re struggling to breathe and have a racing heart, see a doctor urgently.
5. Being Pale
Of course, having pale skin doesn’t necessarily equate to having a deficiency but if you’re usually sporting a healthy glow and suddenly your skin is pale and dull and your nails have turned brittle, you may not be producing enough iron. This is because low iron levels equal low hemoglobin which gives our skin that rosy radiance.
If you’re concerned you may have an iron deficiency, book a doctor’s appointment. They’ll be able to see if you’re suffering from a few simple tests.