Iron insufficiency is brought on by inadequate iron intake or poor bodily iron absorption. Poor diet, severe blood loss, pregnancy, and certain medical diseases that impair the body’s ability to absorb iron are just a few causes of this.
Iron is a vital mineral that has numerous functions in our body, such as the production of hemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen to various tissues, boosting immunity, enhancing cognitive and athletic performance, and reducing fatigue.
Despite its importance, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 24.8% of the world’s population, or approximately 1.62 billion people, suffer from iron deficiency or anemia.
Iron deficiency can cause a range of symptoms that can affect your physical and mental well-being. Some common warning signals of iron deficiency include:
1. Fatigue and weakness: Iron is necessary to produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout your body. If your body doesn’t have enough iron, your muscles and tissues won’t get enough oxygen, leading to fatigue and weakness.
2. Shortness of breath: Low iron levels can cause shortness of breath, especially during physical activity.
3. Headaches and dizziness: Iron deficiency can cause headaches and dizziness, as it affects the supply of oxygen to your brain.
4. Pale skin and nails: If you’re not getting enough iron, your skin and nails may become pale or have a whitish appearance.
5. Chest pain: In some cases, iron deficiency can cause chest pain, which can be a sign of a more serious condition.
6. Restless leg syndrome: Iron deficiency has been linked to restless leg syndrome, a condition that causes discomfort and an urge to move the legs, especially at night.
7. Pica: Iron deficiency can cause unusual cravings for non-food items, such as ice, dirt, or clay. This condition is called pica and can be dangerous if left untreated.
If you experience any of these warning signals, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider. A simple blood test can determine if you have an iron deficiency, and treatment options may include dietary changes, supplements, or medication.
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