Have you been feeling overly tired lately, no matter how much sleep you get? Is it a challenge for you to take a short walk without getting winded, even though you are in great physical shape? If so, it may be because you have an iron deficiency.
There are a lot of nutritional deficiencies, but out of all of them, low iron is the most common. In fact, it is estimated that 80 percent of the world’s population are iron-deficient. Moreover, it is suspected that up to 30 percent of people with anemia developed the condition as a result of having low iron levels for a long period of time.
Why is iron important for the body? What are the signs of iron deficiency? How can you boost your iron levels? Keep on reading to find the answers to the answers to these questions.
Why Iron is Important
Though many people don’t realize it, iron is an essential mineral. A vital component of hemoglobin, the part of the red blood cells transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, major function of iron is to transport oxygen to the body’s vital organs. Since hemoglobin makes up about 2/3 of the iron in the body, if you are iron deficient, your body is unable to create enough oxygen-rich red blood cells.
Signs of Iron Deficiency
When a person doesn’t have an adequate level of iron in her body, she develops a condition known as iron deficiency anemia. Women are more likely than men to develop this condition, and the symptoms can be mild an unnoticeable at first, but as the deficiency becomes worse, the symptoms will also become worse.
The most common signs of iron deficiency anemia include:
– Excessive fatigue
– Brain “fog”
– Muscle weakness
– Shortness of breath
– Skin paleness
– Brittle nails
– Increased heart rate
– Cold extremities
– Restless leg syndrome, which causes a tingling, crawling sensation in the legs
– Pica, or odd cravings for dirt or ice
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, there’s a good chance that you have low iron levels, which a simple blood test can confirm.