Anemia caused by iron deficiency is the shortage of red blood cells- a consequence of low blood cells in the body. Hence, when the body lacks iron to turn into hemoglobin, the red blood cells are unable to transfer the oxygenated blood to the body tissues which results in numerous side-effects.
The people who are most susceptible to this disease are vegans and vegetarians because red meat is the biggest source of iron, and they don’t have it in their diets. The other group is blood donors, especially women donors because of the pregnancy factor and the menstrual cycle.
The most common symptoms of iron deficiency
This type of deficiency prevents the oxygen supply to the cells. The symptoms may vary from mild to severe. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Fatigue and weakness-if you’re sleeping more than usually and if you constantly feel tired even after resting, your iron levels might be low.
- Headache, dizziness, and light-headedness-when the oxygen flow to the brain is interrupted, you may feel dizzy or light-headed, especially while standing up. This may even cause fainting.
- Shortness of breath-if a simple climbing of the stairs causes you to breathe irregularly, you may need more iron.
- Frequent infections-if your wounds and cuts take a lot of time to heal or if they get easily infected, you may have a low level of hemoglobin.
- Cold feet and hands-if your fingers and toes are constantly cold and if your nails turn purple, you may suffer from iron deficiency.
- Brittle and weak nails-if your nails and hair are fragile and brittle, you may need to include more iron in your diet.
- Increased heartbeat-when you lack oxygen, your heart may pound faster than usually.
- Odd cravings-if you constantly crave sugar or something stranger like non-food items, for example chalk or dirt, you might be lacking iron.
- Restless leg syndrome– in a lot of cases, people who are iron deficient have problems with this condition.
- Chest ache-this isn’t only an indicator of iron deficiency, but a serious symptom of possible cardiac arrest.
What to do?
- You should eat more meat, eggs, fish, leafy greens, milk, and bread.
- You should take iron supplements (consult your physician for diagnosis first).