Iron deficiency anemia is a type of anemia that is characterized by low levels of red blood cells due to iron deficiency. It occurs when the body does not have sufficient amounts of iron to produce hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen in the blood. Here are the main symptoms of anemia.
Anemia: who are the people at risk?
Everyone can develop iron deficiency anemia, but some people are more at risk than others. Vegetarians and vegans are more likely to be affected by iron deficiency anemia because their diet does not include red meat, considered one of the most important sources of iron.
In addition, regular blood donors also have an increased risk of losing their iron stores and developing iron deficiency anemia. In addition, women are particularly vulnerable to this type of anemia, both because of menstruation (heavy blood loss) and during pregnancy because they have to “share” their nutrients with the fetus.
According to the World Health Organization, women and children are most affected by anemia (iron deficiency). On average, it affects about 20% of women and 50% of pregnant women against only 3% of men.
Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia
With each beat, the heart delivers blood to the cardiovascular system, supplying oxygen and nutrients to all cells in the body. Iron deficiency anemia can (negatively) influence the amount of oxygen distributed in each cell.
The symptoms of iron deficiency anemia vary according to the severity of iron deficiency. They may go unnoticed or show a slight fatigue.
Here are 10 symptoms of iron deficiency anemia never to ignore:
1. A feeling of fatigue / very intense weakness
If you sleep more than usual or you experience a decrease in energy and muscle weakness for a long time, this may indicate that you have iron deficiency.
2. Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness (especially when standing)
When standing, the blood pressure decreases. So if the amount of oxygen is reduced, standing up can disrupt the flow of oxygen in the brain. This can lead to headaches, dizziness and sometimes even fainting.
3. Constant breathlessnessFeeling short of breath when you go up the stairs? This tiredness can be a symptom of iron deficiency anemia.
4. Frequent infections
If small wounds tend to become infected, despite the care provided or if they take a long time to heal, a low hemoglobin can cause these inconveniences.
5. Cold hands and feet
Cold hands and feet indicate a disorder of the blood circulation. If you have frozen fingers and toes or purple nails, consider promoting the consumption of iron-rich foods.
6. Soft and brittle nails
The quality of your nails says a lot about your nutritional deficiencies. Healthy, strong nails reflect a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet, while brittle nails are a symptom of iron deficiency that can lead to iron deficiency anemia.
7. A fast heart rate
Anemia can affect the heart rate because it causes the heart to beat faster to provide more oxygen to the cells.
8. Feelings of frequent snacks
Do you crave frequent snacks and cravings for sugar? This excess of appetite may indicate iron deficiency of the body!
9. Restless legs syndrome
Restless legs syndrome is a disorder that results in a need for constant movement, tingling and discomfort in the legs and buttocks. This syndrome is also considered a symptom of iron deficiency anemia.
10. Chest pain
Chest pain is not a sign to take lightly. It can be a symptom of iron deficiency anemia, as it can also signal a heart problem.
If you have chest pain, you should consult a doctor for a specific diagnosis.
How to prevent iron deficiency anemia?
The most effective way to prevent this type of anemia is to eat a healthy and balanced diet, avoiding any nutritional deficiency. Opt for a diet high in foods high in iron such as meat, eggs, fish, leafy vegetables or cereals that are very rich in iron.
There is nothing to stop you from taking iron-fortified dietary supplements to prevent and treat iron deficiency anemia (seek the advice of your doctor before starting a cure because excessive iron in the body can also be dangerous to your health. ).