Have you experienced tiredness, pale skin, headaches and dizziness but are unsure why?
You may be experiencing iron-deficiency anaemia. As the most common type of anaemia worldwide, iron-deficiency anaemia is a condition in which blood lacks the regular amount of healthy red blood cells, limiting the amount of oxygen transported to the body’s tissues.
While some people have obvious symptoms, others experience none at all. The home doctor experts at House Call Doctor have weighed in on the seven most common signs and symptoms to look out for if you think you may have iron-deficiency anaemia.
More than half of all people with an iron-deficiency report feeling excessive tiredness. This is due to the lack of red blood cells limiting the amount of oxygen reaching your body’s tissues, depriving them of energy.
When your red blood cells function inadequately as a result of an iron-deficiency, you will have lower levels of haemoglobin in your blood. Haemoglobin gives blood its red colour, so without it, you may have pale skin, especially on and around your face, lower eyelids and nails.
- Shortness of breath
If walking up a flight of stairs makes you pause to catch your breath, you may have an iron-deficiency. It may indicate low levels of haemoglobin are preventing your body from transporting oxygen to your muscles and tissues.
When oxygen doesn’t circulate through your body properly, you may get dizzy or even lose consciousness and faint. This can happen when you stand too quickly or remain standing for too long. Dizziness and fainting can cause serious harm, so make sure you see your doctor if you experience this symptom.
- Irregular heartbeat
Without enough oxygen in your blood cells, your heart has to work extra hard to circulate enough oxygen around the body. This can lead to irregular or fast heartbeats.
- Hair damage
Your hair needs oxygen to grow and stay healthy. When your hair is deprived of this due to an iron-deficiency, it can become dry and damaged.
- Brittle nails
Much like your hair, your nails can become brittle when you have an iron-deficiency. As one of the signs of a more severe deficiency, it is important you report this symptom to your doctor.
While there are other symptoms you may experience if you have an iron-deficiency, such as strange food cravings or generalised anxiety, these seven symptoms are the most common. Iron-deficiency anaemia cannot be self-diagnosed or treated. If you recognise any of the above symptoms, the home doctor experts at House Call Doctor recommend you contact your regular GP who can recommend iron supplements for you.