A vital mineral, iron plays an essential role in the well-being and health functions of the body. An iron deficiency can lead to several dysfunctions including a drop in the production of red blood cells. This is because iron makes for an essential component of the protein, hemoglobin which is a part of the red blood cells. It carries the important function of transporting oxygen from the lungs to the different parts of the body. In the case of lack of iron, there is a disruption in the production of healthy red blood cells, and one is at the risk of suffering from anemia.
Iron deficiency and anemia are commonly caused by the inadequate intake of an iron-rich diet, restrictive diet, blood loss through menstruation, inflammatory bowel disease, increased iron requirement during pregnancy and internal bleeding. Irrespective of the cause, the condition can lead to very unpleasant symptoms. Fortunately, there are available iron injections and infusions which can aid in increasing the level of iron in the body. There are also some specially formulated supplements that are formulated for vegans or people who follow a vegetarian diet.
Here are some symptoms and signs of iron deficiency to look out for:
1. Skin paleness
The skin usually gets its pinking rosy color from the hemoglobin. When the levels drop, the skin begins to appear lighter. Deficiency of iron leads to the red blood cells shrinking and become paler. Thus, the skin looks pale. People with darker skin tones may not be able to detect this symptom easily. However, if the area inside the bottom eyelid is extremely light, it does point towards low iron levels.
2. Swelling of the tongue
Abnormal changes in the tongue, such as swelling, and soreness is a sign of iron deficiency. One may also notice cracks in the side of the mouth along with dryness. This is extremely common among people with the condition.
3. Recurrent infections
Iron contributes as a major component in the wellbeing of the immune system. Low levels of iron can weaken the immune system and make it more susceptible to the different kinds of infections. Moreover, the deficiency causes a lack of production of white blood cells. The white blood cells do not receive enough oxygen, and this further puts an individual at the risk of developing infections. Thus, if one experiences frequent infections, it may be a sign of iron deficiency.
4. Fatigue and exertion
When the body is unable to carry oxygen to the different cells of the body, it automatically affects the energy levels of the body. One begins to feel extremely fatigued and exhausted even without being a part of high-intensity activities. People who feel sluggish and weak throughout the day are most likely to be detected with iron deficiency and are prescribed iron supplements and infusions.
5. Loss of hair
When iron deficiency goes on to develop into anemia, one will notice the sign of hair loss. This is because the hair follicles do not receive the necessary oxygen and hair strands begin to fall without growing back until the condition is treated. This is a major sign of iron deficiency or anemia.
It is essential to contact the physician if any of the above symptoms are exhibited. The doctor will understand the root cause of the deficiency and prescribe suitable iron injections and infusions.