What Are The Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of iron.. Martin Barraud/ GettyImages

Question: What Are The Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Answer: When your iron level is too low, you may have iron deficiency anemia. The most common symptom of iron deficiency anemia is fatigue. If you don't have enough hemoglobin in your blood, you will feel tired or wear out more easily. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein in the blood that carries oxygen throughout your body.

Other symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include:

  • Cold hands or feet
  • Brittle nails
  • Dizziness, particularly upon standing up
  • Pale skin, gums, and nail beds
  • Inflammation and/or tongue discomfort
  • Cracks in the corners of the mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Cravings for non-foods, or pica, such as dirt or laundry detergent
  • Development of restless legs syndrome (RLS)

Women who experience heavy or excessive menstrual bleeding often discover that they are anemic.

While these symptoms can occur in iron deficiency anemia, they can also be signs of many other diseases and conditions. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor for evaluation of your symptoms, and treatment.

Source: What are the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency? NHBLI-NIH. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/ida/ida_signsandsymptoms.html. Accessed 03/31/11.

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