Iron is an important mineral that plays a key role in maintaining your overall health and well-being. Primarily, it aids your blood to carry oxygen to every cell in your body and keep body organs in optimal function.
Women, especially in their childbearing years, are at higher risk for iron deficiency because of frequent blood loss during menstruation.
Here are 7 signs you might have iron deficiency:
1. Pale skin
A blood component called hemoglobin is what gives your skin its rosy color. When red blood cells are deprived of enough iron, they become smaller and paler, thus making the skin appear paler too.
2. Hair loss
Iron deficiency, when it progresses to anemia, can cause hair loss. When hair follicles do not get enough oxygen, they enter into a resting stage, hair falls out, and doesn’t grow back until the anemia is resolved or improved.
3. Extreme fatigue and exhaustion
One of the most common signs of iron deficiency is fatigue. This is because your body cannot properly transport oxygen from the bloodstream to your cells, affecting your energy levels.
4. Swollen tongue
Tongue swelling or soreness can be a sign of iron deficiency.
5. Frequent infections
Iron plays a huge role in keeping your immune system healthy. Iron deficiency can make you more vulnerable to infections. When a person has insufficient iron, white blood cells aren’t sufficiently produced as well because of poor oxygenation. This results in a weakened immune system.
People with iron deficiency may develop unusual cravings for non-food items such as dirt, clay, or chalk.
7. Restless Legs Syndrome
This is a disorder wherein you have a strong urge to move your legs. It is often accompanied by an unpleasant, crawling sensation in the legs and can cause you to have difficulty falling asleep.