Our body requires several nutrients and minerals for proper functioning. Lack of these minerals in the body can lead to deficiency diseases, which can sometimes even be life-threatening. Iron is one such major mineral which is essential to carry out various functions in the body.
Iron is one of the most important constituents of hemoglobin found in the blood. Hemoglobin and iron help in the transportation of oxygen to different parts of the body. Iron also plays a significant role in the formation of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), which is an energy source in the body. Sometimes, due to some reasons, a person may suffer from low iron count, also known as iron deficiency.
In most of the cases, improper diet and not eating foods containing iron for a longer period are considered as the most important causes. Secondly, loss of blood due to an accident, hemorrhages, childbirth, heavy menstruation, etc., can lead to low iron levels. On the other hand, kidney diseases, stomach ulcers, etc., can also lead to iron deficiency in people. A long-term or chronic deficiency of iron or low count of iron leads to a condition known as iron deficiency anemia.
The early signs and symptoms are difficult to identify and relate to this condition. However, you need to watch out for these symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Brittle hair
- Cold hands and feet
- Improper functioning of the immune system
- Lack of energy
- Low blood pressure
- Pale skin
- Poor appetite
- Poor memory
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sore tongue
- Susceptibility to infections
- Sleep disorders
- Thinning and brittle finger nails
- Tiredness and weakness
- Trouble swallowing
One should note that pica is one of the classic and easily identifiable low iron count symptoms. It is a condition where the person has a craving to eat 'non-foods' like saw dust, wood, ice, paint, chalk, etc. Among the rest, the constant craving to eat ice is commonly observed in children as well as adults. Behavioral problems and breathlessness are some of the iron deficiency symptoms in children. On the other hand, you should look out for your nails as they get a distinct appearance if you are suffering from iron deficiency. They get an upward curvature or appear spoon like.
If one observes any of these symptoms, he/she should consult the doctor immediately. There are several treatment methods that help in treating this condition. In minor cases, changing one's diet and including foods high in iron can be helpful. In severe cases, using iron supplements and other treatment methods may be required. It is recommended to go for supplements only if the advised by the doctor.
One should look out for the symptoms and get the condition treated as early as possible. In most of the cases, this condition can be reversed by following a proper diet. Take care!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.