Oxygen is the fuel that keeps your body going. Required for essential processes, including energy generation, oxygen is transported by hemoglobin. Made from iron, hemoglobin is found in red blood cells.
When there is dearth of iron, there is naturally also a lack of hemoglobin. It then means that your body’s oxygen supply is compromised, and thus your body cannot carry out the essential processes at the desired rate.
This condition is known as iron deficiency anemia. Predominantly affecting women, iron deficiency anemia has a grave impact on one’s quality of life. Therefore, knowing the signs of the condition is important, so one can visit an expert like the Internal Medicine Specialist in Lahore for diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Signs of iron deficiency anemia
Iron deficiency has been linked to poor appetite. It may also lead to strange cravings for non-food items, in a condition known as pica. People then have a strange need to eat items like ice, clay, chalk, etc.
Anxiety and irritation
A rather lesser-known sign of iron deficiency is feeling anxious and irritated more than usual, and more than others. Such individuals are easier to rile. They become more sensitive to certain stimuli, and do not respond well to them.
Cold hands and feet
Since there is insufficient oxygen, there is relatively less delivered then to the hands and feet. Due to the compromised blood supply to the extremities, they then become cold. During winters, it may also mean frequent instances of blue nails.
Iron deficiency does not only affect your physical health, but it also has an impact on your mental health as well. It increases the risk for depression, since iron is also required for to make the chemical, dopamine. In depression, dopamine levels run low, and thus, dearth of iron paves way for depression.
While research is still pending on the exact connection between iron deficiency and headaches, but frequent headaches are a common theme with iron deficiency. They become more pronounced in women who are menstruating.
Iron deficiency also has a negative impact on the immune system. It leads to its compromised functionality, and thus people get more infections. They otherwise as well, tend to get sick more quickly.
When you can feel your heart beating, it is referred to as palpitations. Since your heart has to work extra hard to supply oxygen, therefore, palpitations are common with iron deficiency.
Since hemoglobin gives the blood redder appearance, lack thereof then means less intense red color. It then means that your skin also appears paler. Paleness especially of the lower eyelid, nails, insides of lips and gum is noticeable with iron deficiency.
Another noticeable sign of iron deficiency are restless legs, especially at night.
Skin, nail, and hair problems
Since there is less oxygen available to your skin, nail, and hair cells, therefore, they are unable to optimally perform. Consequently, there is a lot of hair fall then. Some people might also notice hair thinning. Similarly, skin also becomes damaged, dull, and lusterless. Nails also become brittle and break off easily.
Shortness of breath
Due to there being a lack of oxygen circulation around the body, shortness of breath is common. It means that your circulation rate also needs to go up, since more oxygen supply is required by the muscles then.
If you notice greater shortness of breath with the chores that are not high intensity like walking or taking the stairs, you should consult your doctor.
Unusual fatigue and tiredness
Feeling unusually tired and feeling so all the time is a classic sign of iron deficiency. Essentially, your body cells are not given their required dosage of oxygen, due to which lesser energy is produced, leading them to lethargy.
If you notice these signs, you should schedule a visit with your Internal medicine specialist in Islamabad. Your doctor can assess you better and prescribe a blood test which shows your hemoglobin levels. If the levels run low, alongside finding the source, they may recommend supplements, IV or even blood transfusion.