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Iron deficiency is one of the few dietary problems that arises when insufficient iron is being extracted from foods or when the body does not have enough iron. Symptoms of iron deficiency are easy to spot even when it is not so severe.

One of the first signs of iron deficiency is pale skin and whitening of the ‘white’ in the eye.

According to the center for disease control and prevention, the daily dietary allowance of iron for adults between the ages of 19 to 50 years is 18mg, for pregnant women, at least 27mg of iron supplementation daily is required.

Symptoms of iron deficiency
Symptoms of iron deficiency

Iron supplements may be obtained from plants such as in vegetables, fortified cereals, and spinach; animal origin includes beef, liver, and oysters among others.

Iron deficiency symptoms are noticeable when it is long standing as it might deprive the body cells of oxygen for optimum performance, however, you may not notice low iron symptoms since it develops slowly over time.

Symptoms of low iron and anemia symptoms are very similar because they are mutually inexclusive.

Iron deficiency symptoms in children varies from adults’ due to the impact oxygen has on their body, the brain, growth and development. One instance of low iron symptoms in children in infant stage is poor mental growth and development. Symptoms of low iron in adults may be more pronounced because an average adult needs about 2400 calories of energy daily, without adequate supplement of iron, metabolic activities will be affected.

Here are 10 symptoms of iron deficiency

1. Children becomes fussy

Children becomes fussy, with short attention span or attention deficit (ADHD) when they are low on iron. This may be traced to their brain development while at in the fetal stage.

2. Fainting spell

Fainting spell is strongly associated with severe cases of iron deficiency anemia, so iron is a vital component for formation of red blood cells and transportation of oxygen round the body.

3. Migraine and headaches

When the brain is suffering from low (below required) blood oxygen level, the brain is often the first victim, so headache may result from poor oxygen transport to the brain.

4. Fatigue and body weakness

Poor oxygen flow affects glucose metabolism, this impacts negatively on the amount of energy required for metabolic activities. Women are mostly affected though it may not be easily spotted.

5. Tingling sensation in the legs

This is most common when iron deficiency is affecting the production of red blood cells, poor blood flow to the limbs may cause tingling and numbness in the affect organs.

6. Shortness of breath

Breathing impairments is not often times a symptom of low iron but a major sign of complication of anemia, the resulting effect of chronic iron deficiency.

7. Sore and inflamed tongue

One of the few signs of low iron is pale smooth and inflamed tongue. This is very common in children and infants due to low levels of hemoglobin in the blood.

8. Developing an uncommon cravings for non-food substances such as clay, chalk and dirt

The reason behind strange cravings for dirt, clay and non-food substances in iron-deficient patient is yet to be known but more scientific processes will help in years to come.

9. Hair loss

40 years of research has established that iron deficiency has strong links to hair loss. Hair loss may be treated with iron supplementation with or without traces of anemia.

10. Restless leg syndrome

Patients with iron deficiency are a higher risk of having a ‘pin and tingling’ sensation on their legs.

Iron deficiency symptoms presented may be used to administer symptomatic treatment while iron supplement is prescribed.

Symptoms of iron deficiency are easy to manage once the underlying causes are known and as long as the causes are reversible, also, iron supplements do help to restore lost iron.

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