Top 5 Signs of Iron Deficiency

Are you falling asleep during your favorite TV show, or nodding off during a conference call at the office? Getting tested for iron deficiency might be the solution to your exhaustion.

The human body needs oxygen to function properly. Organs and tissues rely on red blood cells to carry oxygen, in the form of hemoglobin, from the lungs. Anemia occurs when you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body. Iron deficiency anemia is a common form of anemia and occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron, according to Mayo Clinic. Insufficient iron can make it hard to find the energy to do everyday activities and may be why you have trouble staying awake to read your book or lack the energy to attend yoga class.

Approximately 10 million people in the United States are iron deficient, the National Institute of Health reports. Children and older adults are at a higher risk for iron deficiency. The main culprit for low iron is a poor diet. If your diet lacks iron, protein, and vitamins — especially B12 — you have an increased risk for anemia. Low iron can also be related to blood loss or medical conditions that prevent your body from absorbing iron during digestion.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

While some people with mild iron deficiency may not initially have any symptoms, many people will start to experience the following five symptoms if iron intake remains low.

Fatigue and weakness. Low red blood cell counts result in a decrease in the amount of oxygen being delivered to your body’s various organs, causing fatigue.

Pale skin. Hemoglobin gives blood its red color. Lower levels of hemoglobin in the blood can cause people with iron deficiencies to be pale.

Chest pain. The heart has to work harder to deliver oxygen to the body if you suffer from anemia, which can cause chest pain or an irregular heartbeat.

Headache. Insufficient oxygen delivery to the brain can cause blood vessels to swell and make your head hurt.

Shortness of breath. Breathing rates increase when the body tries to get more oxygen. Simple tasks, like walking or climbing stairs, may wear you out and cause you to be short of breath.

Other symptoms can include restless leg syndrome and pica, a craving for nonfood items, such as ice or dirt. Some signs of iron deficiency also include brittle nails or spooning of the nails, cracks at the sides of the mouth, and swelling or soreness of the tongue, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

If left untreated, iron deficiency can cause a host of problems and can be life-threatening. Over time, iron deficiency can cause depression, heart problems, an increased risk of infection, motor or cognitive delays in children, and pregnancy complications.

Get Tested at Any Lab Test Now

Any Lab Test Now offers a comprehensive Anemia Panel to determine if you need to talk to your doctor about adding an iron supplement to your diet. You do not need to fast for this test, and you don’t need insurance to take advantage of Any Lab Test Now’s affordable lab testing. Walk in to any of the more than 170 locations nationwide and get a quick blood test to determine if your iron level is the culprit of your fatigue. Test results generally take between 24 to 72 business hours, and customers can choose to have test results mailed, faxed or pick them up at the testing location.

Changing Diet Can Boost Iron Levels

The good news is that treatment for low iron is relatively easy for most people. Many doctors recommend an iron supplement as a quick fix. But, if your anemia panel reveals low iron levels, making small changes to your diet can help increase your energy and banish fatigue.

  • Eat foods high in iron, like dried beans, dried fruits, eggs, lean red meat, salmon, iron-fortified breads and cereals, peas, tofu, dried fruits, and dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, and tomatoes, can help your body absorb iron.
  • Avoid drinking black tea, it can reduce your body’s ability to absorb iron.
  • Some reports suggest cooking in a cast-iron skillet will transfer some of the iron from the pan to your meal.

Any Lab Test Now offers fast and affordable lab testing. Visit your local Any Lab Test Now location to increase your productivity and boost your energy today.