7 Unusual Signs Of Iron Deficiency To Look Out For
Iron is a vital mineral that makes protein hemoglobin inside red blood cells. This protein is vital to supply oxygen throughout the body. Low iron levels can cause iron deficiency anemia and, if left untreated, can cause health complications. Tiredness, shortness of breath, and feeling cold are common signs and symptoms of iron deficiency. Some of the less common signs and symptoms are unnoticed or misinterpreted. Here are 7 unusual signs of iron deficiency to look out for.
7 Unusual Signs Of Iron Deficiency:
1. Spoon-shaped or brittle fingernails: Spoon shaped nails look like the middle part of your nail is scooped out. The depression is big enough to hold a drop of water. The nails are thin, and the outer edges turn up. It is one of the less usual signs of iron deficiency seen in severe cases. A brittle nail that cracks easily is often the first sign. Other than iron deficiency, frequent exposure to detergents, petroleum solvents, chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer can also cause spoon nails.
2. Wanting to eat paper or ice: It may sound very unusual to some people. Pica is an eating disorder. People with pica compulsively eat items that have less to no nutritional value, such as chalk, sand, ice, buttons, and dirt. Some people with iron deficiency have the desire to eat ice, paper, dirt, or clay. Pica is also seen in people with other nutrient deficiencies, pregnant women, and mental health problems. When visiting a doctor, feel free to talk about your cravings for unusual food items which helps for an accurate diagnosis.
3. Restless legs: People with iron deficiency may have restless legs syndrome. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is an irresistible urge to move the legs when they are at rest. You may also experience an unpleasant creeping or crawling sensation in the feet, thighs, or calves. It usually gets worse at night and causes sleeping difficulties. When a restless syndrome is caused by health conditions such as iron deficiency anemia or kidney failure, it is known as secondary restless legs syndrome. Though it can affect anyone, women are two times more likely to develop RLS than men.
4. Sore or inflamed tongue or mouth: Iron deficiency can make the tongue sore, swollen, pale, or unusually smooth. You might also have a dry mouth, cracks, sores, or ulcers in the mouth or a burning feeling in the mouth. Due to iron deficiency, the tongue may not get essential proteins which results in the sore tongue. It may also occur due to allergic reactions, smoking, and other health conditions.
5. Poor hair and skin: When you do not have sufficient iron, there is a lack of oxygen for the growth and repair of body cells, including cells that stimulate hair growth. It may result in dry and weak hair and hair fall. You may also experience dry skin due to a lack of oxygen. Keep in mind losing 50 to 100 hairs every day is normal, and it will be replaced naturally. However, if you notice excessive hairs in the brush or while washing, it may be the signs of iron deficiency.
6. Hearing ringing or buzzing noises: Some people with iron deficiency may hear ringing noises. Different people can hear different noises. Without iron, the blood vessels must pump harder to supply blood. As the ears are sensitive, some people may hear noises due to this blood flow.
7. Feelings of depression: Iron is required to produce dopamine in the brain, a substance that helps keep us happy. Iron deficiency may cause signs of depression in adults, and pregnant individuals with iron deficiency may have a greater risk of depression.
Vegetarians, women, infants and children, and frequent blood donors may be at high risk of getting iron deficiency anemia. It is the most common type of anemia. You can reduce the risk of getting iron deficiency by consuming iron-rich foods. Include eggs, leafy green vegetables, meat, and legumes in your daily diet. You also need to eat vitamin c rich foods such as kiwi, melons, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, and strawberries to enhance the body’s absorption of iron.
If you experience any signs and symptoms of iron deficiency, visit your doctor. He will prescribe you iron supplements to treat the condition.