If you’ve found yourself feeling lackluster and generally run-down lately, it could mean that you’re not getting enough iron in your diet. Anemia is a common condition caused by an insufficient number of healthy red blood cells. Iron helps your red blood cells produce hemoglobin, a protein that supplies your body’s tissues with the oxygen they need to function properly. Not getting enough iron is a common cause of iron-deficiency anemia. Watch for these warning signs that something’s up:
Extreme tiredness is most common symptom of anemia. Unexplained lack of energy is often the first red flag that something’s wrong. If it seems like you’ve suddenly lost the pep in your step, it may be time to check in with your doctor.
Missing your usual healthy glow? Skin’s rosy tint is supplied by blood vessels. Blood gets its red color from hemoglobin. If your red blood cells aren’t making enough hemoglobin it can leave you looking drained and sickly. This symptom is more noticeable in people with fair skin, however pale lips, gums and inner eyelids can provide a clue about possible anemia regardless of skin tone.
If you’ve been grappling with vertigo or lightheadedness lately, especially when you stand up, let your doctor know ASAP. Dizziness is an annoying symptom of anemia that can leave you feeling green around the gills, but it’s also a common indicator of many other health problems, so you shouldn’t ignore it.
If your red blood cells aren’t doing their job properly, your brain may not be getting as much oxygen as it needs. Iron deficiency anemia can cause the arteries in your brain to swell, leaving you with a throbbing headache.
Shortness of Breath
Feeling winded, even when you take deep breaths? If you’re iron deficient, your body isn’t getting enough of the oxygen-rich blood it needs for peak performance. This can cause you to feel out of breath even when you’re not exerting yourself. If you find that your usual tasks are suddenly leaving you gasping, it might be time for a check up.
Anemia can also make you feel like your heart is pounding. When you don’t have enough oxygen-carry red blood cells, your heart has to work overtime to do its job circulating blood throughout your body. The stress of all that extra work can cause an irregular heartbeat, and can lead to more serious cardiovascular issues in the long run.
If you suspect you might be anemic, don’t ignore it — make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Although iron-deficiency anemia is a common ailment, it’s easy to treat and prevent. Your doctor can check your blood determine whether or not your iron levels are high enough, and can give you advice on how to boost your intake if your readings come up short.