Are you a female, wondering about what happens if your iron is too low?
Today I’m going to show you the ten warning signs of low iron in a woman.
So let’s get started.
What is Iron?
Iron is an essential mineral for the body. It is responsible for making hemoglobin (red blood cells) that supplies oxygen throughout the body.
In addition to that, iron is involved in the formation of DNA and certain hormones.
To put it simply: Your body needs iron to function properly.
What iron deficiency?
As the name implies, Iron deficiency means lack of iron.
It is a condition in which your blood lacks red blood cells.
And you know what?
Iron deficiency is mostly noticed in women than in men, especially in pregnant women.
And it can manifest with several different signs and symptoms.
Here are a few warning signs to watch out for.
1. Extreme fatigue or weakness
Fatigue is one of the warning signs of low iron in a woman.
Because of low iron, your body will not make enough hemoglobin.
As a result, your tissues and muscles won’t receive enough oxygen, resulting in extreme fatigue or weakness.
During this time, your heart will work more so that the body will get oxygen-rich blood, making you even more exhausted.
To sum up: If you always feel tired or lack energy for no apparent reason, you may want to suspect iron deficiency anemia.
2. Pale skin
Another way to recognize low iron in a woman is to check your inner eyelid in the mirror.
If you have an iron deficiency, the color will be pale.
Paleness can be observed throughout the body also, and in some people, it is noticed in the face, gums, lips, or nails.
Hemoglobin helps make blood red.
And, iron is vital in the production of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to the whole body.
If there is not enough iron, the body cannot produce enough hemoglobin, resulting in the skin looking pale.
To put it simply, the paleness of the skin means not enough iron for your body to produce oxygen-carrying red blood cells (hemoglobin).
3. Hands and feet are always cold
Cold hands and feet are usually associated with low iron levels and anemia.
Generally speaking, this is because of poor blood circulation throughout the body.
4. Shortness of breath
Specifically, hemoglobin is the main reason for red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.
Without enough hemoglobin, oxygen levels in the muscles and tissues will be low, resulting in shortness of breath.
To sum up: If you’re struggling to breathe when doing normal activities such as walking or climbing the stairs, it may be a sign of low iron levels.
5. Dizziness, headache, or lightheadedness
Most women who have low iron often report that they experience dizziness, headache, or lightheadedness.
But, at the moment, medical experts couldn’t explain the link between headache and iron deficiency.
But it is believed that insufficient oxygen supply to the brain due to low amounts of iron is what causes blood vessels to expand in the head, resulting in headaches or dizziness.
6. Restless Legs Syndrome
Another warning signs of low iron in a woman is restless leg syndrome (a strong urge to move your legs at rest).
Restless leg syndrome symptom: tingling in the legs, strange crawling, or the urge to move your legs, especially when sitting or lying in bed, mostly in the evening and at night.
And it will make you wake up from sleep or have difficulty falling asleep.
A study discovered 23.9 percent of the people who are having iron deficiency experience restless legs syndrome.
To sum up: People with restless legs syndrome usually have low levels of iron in their blood.
Read about restless leg syndrome remedies.
7. Split, brittle, soft, or thin nails
Iron deficiency is the most apparent reason for splitting, brittle, soft, or thin nails, says the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD).
In addition to that, according to Mayo Clinic, spoon-shaped nails are also apparent symptoms of iron deficiency.
To sum up: Low iron can cause woman fingernails and toenails to become thinner and brittle, making them easier to break.
8. Damaged hair and skin
If your hair didn’t get enough oxygen, it would reduce hair growth.
Also, if your skin lacks oxygen, it will become dry, cracking, and scaling.
In a nutshell, if you are experiencing massive hair loss and dry skin, then it may be due to the lack of iron in your body.
But remember this:
It is also normal to have hair loss, but it may be due to iron deficiency if you are losing hair more than normal.
9. Pica (Unusual cravings for strange things)
Pica is the symptom where you will crave strange foods or non-food items.
In fact, a study published by the Journal of Medical Case Reports showed that patients with severe iron deficiency tend to crave ice cubes, clay, chalk, or rubber bands as their key symptom.
10. Chest Pain
Iron deficiency also results in a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
The decrease of hemoglobin in RBC will reduce the oxygen supply throughout the body.
Therefore the heart pumps more so that it can compensate for the lack of oxygen in the blood.
You can prevent Iron deficiency by having iron-rich foods such as:
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Red meat
When to see a doctor
You can consult a doctor if you are experiencing serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, persistent fatigue, pale skin, irregular heartbeat, or chest pains.
He/she may recommend some iron pills or iron supplements, and it will take 1 or 2 months to get a complete cure.
When you are experiencing severe symptoms, then intense treatment will be provided.
Note: Before increasing the iron content in your body, remember that overdosage of iron in your body also has some serious complications, affecting your liver.