A human body requires a balanced inflow of several nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Of these, Iron is one of the most important nutrients required for a human body to develop and stay safe from several health conditions caused by its deficiency.
This mineral which is present in Red Blood Cells (RBC) helps in carrying the oxygen throughout the body. It is also essential in maintaining the immunity of your body.
A deficiency in Iron is found to cause various types of pulmonary diseases, making it even more important to maintain good levels of iron in our body during this pandemic outbreak.
According to this study, people infected with COVID-19 were detected with serum iron deficiency. However, the study has also mentioned that the information on iron status and its correlation to COVID-19 is scarce.
With that in mind, it is never a bad idea to make sure that our body is getting enough amount of daily iron dosage. While adult men require at least 8 mg of daily iron intake and adult women who are menstruating require 18 mg of daily iron intake, it is also important to know the different signs of iron deficiency in our bodies.
In this article, let us learn some of the common signs of iron deficiency, its causes, and consequences.
1. Fatigue or unusual tiredness
It is one of the most common signs of iron deficiency and affects over half the percentage of people deficient in this mineral.
A human body requires iron to make a protein called Hemoglobin. It is found in Red Blood Cells and helps in carrying oxygen to different tissues, muscles, and parts of our body. When your body is deficient in iron, naturally less amount of hemoglobin is created and thus, less amount of oxygen is supplied to different parts of the body.
This also results in your heart working extra hard to supply your entire body with iron-rich blood, resulting in you feeling that unusual bout of tiredness.
While this alone cannot determine iron deficiency, it is one of the most common signs. It is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as irritation, bad concentration, and focus on work.
2. Shortness of breath
As mentioned above, hemoglobin is required to carry oxygen throughout your body. During iron deficiency, your body generates less amount of hemoglobin which results in less supply of oxygen across the body.
Due to this, your breathing rate escalates while doing normal everyday tasks like walking, climbing stairs, or other household chores. If you feel shortness of breath while doing normal everyday tasks, it must be a sign of iron deficiency.
3. Paleness of skin
Hemoglobin also gives your blood its red color. If your body is deficient in iron, naturally there will be less hemoglobin, and as a result, your blood would be less red in color. This, in turn, would make your skin seem pale and lose its rosy sheen.
Paleness can appear all over your body or may be restricted to certain parts of the body like your lower eyelids, nails, gums, inside of your lips, or face.
It is one of the first signs detected by a doctor during iron deficiency and is confirmed through a blood test.
4. Noticeable heartbeats
Noticeable heartbeats or heart palpitations are caused due to low levels of hemoglobin and oxygen in the blood. Due to this, your heart has to work extra hard to pump iron-rich blood in your body.
As a result, your heart beats irregularly or abnormally fast. However, to be able to notice such a sign or symptom, you need to be deficient in iron for a long time.
5. Constant headaches and dizziness
While you may get a headache due to many reasons, one reason is believed to be due to iron deficiency.
As less hemoglobin is formed in your blood, which eventually leads to less supply of oxygen to your brain, you may suffer from frequent bouts of headaches or dizziness.
Other common signs of iron deficiency are
- Chest pains
- Dry and damaged hair and skin
- Swelling and sore tongue and mouth
- Restless legs
- Brittle fingernails
- Cold hands and feet
- Weird cravings
- Frequent infections
Consequences of iron deficiency
Anemia is one of the common diseases that is caused due to deficiency of iron in a human’s body. It results in a low number of red blood cells, eventually carrying less amount of oxygen to your body.
This may also result in shortness of breath due to the inability of your Red Blood Cells to carry oxygen to your lungs. Given the current pandemic situation and how it is increasingly affecting the lungs and making it hard for people to breathe, we must make sure that we are having a balanced diet to getting our daily dosage of iron in our body to stay healthy and immune.
According to a study done by a hospital in Cambridge, it was found that a majority of patients who are detected with COVID-19 and are moved to ICU have anemia.
Iron deficiency can be treated by including foods that are rich in iron, vitamin B12, C, and folate. Below are some of the iron-rich foods you can include in your diet to increase the iron content in your body
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach
- Pumpkin seeds
- Red meat
- Beans and legumes
Consult with Top Doctors or Nutritionists near you to better understand your iron deficiency and how to treat it by contacting us on +91 88-00-644-744.