Signs of a lack of iron

Updated April 17, 2017

Eating a varied and balanced diet provides most people with the necessary iron their body needs. Good sources of iron are nuts, dried fruits, whole grains, meat, dark-green leafy vegetables and beans. Spinach is a good source of iron. However, spinach should be eaten with foods containing iron-absorption enhancers such as tomatoes. Tea and coffee contain polyphenols that can bind to iron. When this happens, it is harder for the body to absorb iron.

Lack of Energy

Iron is an essential mineral, meaning a healthy diet must contain iron. Iron helps red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body. Iron is important for general well-being and energy. Lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency. Without enough iron, muscles get less oxygen, which lead to less energy. Anemia is a decrease in number of red blood cells.

Common Symptoms

In the earlier stages, a person usually does not experience any symptoms. With time, the deficiency may deepen and the person may experience fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, cold hands and feet, headache, sleeping difficulties, and weakness. A person's fingernails may become thin and white. A person's immune system will become weak, and many sufferers have low blood pressure when changing from sitting to standing up. Women may experience severe menstrual pain, and children may lack of appetite.

Severe Anaemia

There are many different types of anaemia and iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type. The body needs iron to produce more blood cells, and a lack of one iron may lead to the development of anaemia. Long-term consequences of lack of iron are a burning sensation in the tongue and brittle hair, and dryness in the mouth and throat. Severe anaemia may result in chest pain and headache. Leg pain is also common. A person with severe lack of iron may faint and experience a rapid heart rate.

Diagnose of Symptoms

Many of the symptoms of lack of iron have a general character, and a doctor should be consulted to rule out other health problems. A blood test is necessary to diagnose iron deficiency anaemia and an analysis of the red blood cells is usually included. A balanced diet is the best prevention for iron deficiency and vitamin C helps to absorb iron from food. The effect of the absorption of iron is best when vitamin C is combined with vegetables containing iron, such as watercress and spinach.

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About the Author

Asa Jomard began her career as a freelance writer in 2008. Her work has appeared in print and online publications, including Baby Corner. Jomard holds a Bachelor of Social Science in psychology from Umea University, Sweden, as well as a degree in counseling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counselors.