Is Your Iron Low?
Has your skin turned pale lately and you are experiencing shortness of breath or feeling dizzy? If yes, then it is time for you to get a diagnostic blood test done to know your iron levels.
Why Our Bodies Need Iron?
Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. Hemoglobin binds with oxygen in the lungs, and iron is responsible for the oxygen-binding capacity of hemoglobin. Without sufficient iron, the body cannot produce enough healthy red blood cells, leading to a condition called iron deficiency anemia, which can result in fatigue, weakness, and impaired cognitive function.
What Causes Iron Deficiency?
The most common causes of low levels of iron in your body includes:
Insufficient consumption of iron-rich foods: It is one of the primary causes of iron deficiency. The body primarily obtains iron from the diet, and if the intake of iron is consistently low, it can lead to depleted iron stores over time. This is particularly common in individuals who follow restrictive diets, such as vegetarians or vegans who don’t adequately compensate for the absence of meat, which is a good source of iron.
Poor Iron Absorption: Certain conditions or factors can interfere with the absorption of iron from the diet, even if the dietary intake is sufficient. For example, gastrointestinal disorders like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or gastric bypass surgery can affect the body’s ability to absorb iron properly. Additionally, substances like tannins found in tea or phytates found in certain grains and legumes can bind to iron and inhibit its absorption.
Symptoms of Low Iron in your body
- Shortness of breath
- Heart Palpitations
- Pale skin
- Brittle nails
- Excess hair fall
- Extreme Fatigue
- Extremely cold hands/feet
Complications of Iron Deficiency
Anemia: Iron deficiency is one of the leading causes of anemia. Anemia occurs when your body lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen to your tissues and organs. Symptoms of anemia may include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, pale skin, dizziness, and rapid or irregular heartbeat.
Impaired Cognitive Function: Iron is crucial for optimal brain function. Iron deficiency can lead to impaired cognitive function, poor concentration, reduced alertness, and decreased learning ability. It can also affect memory and lead to difficulties with problem-solving and other cognitive tasks.
Weakened Immune System: Iron is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. Iron deficiency can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses. They may experience frequent infections, slow recovery from illnesses, and reduced ability to fight off pathogens.
If you feel that you are experiencing the above mentioned symptoms, you should consult a physician at the earliest. The physician will ask you to conduct a CBC (complete blood count) test which will reveal if your iron levels are low.