Iron is vital for your overall health. It is one of the building blocks of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body. Despite the importance of iron, deficiencies are very common and come along with some serious symptoms, such as weakness, fatigue, vertigo, and hair loss.

Iron deficiency is usually a minor health problem, but if left untreated for long enough, becoming anemic can turn out to be very serious threat. This blood disorder affects many women around the world, and the numbers of anemic individuals are alarming.  The symptoms of an anemic individual tend to be very similar to stress, so anemia can go unnoticed and untreated. Many women go for a long time without realizing they are at risk, or that the disorder is already in progress; they have no idea how to identify iron deficiency.

Anemia is a condition where an individual doesn’t have enough red blood cells capable of carrying the required amount of oxygen to the tissues of the body. Anemia doesn’t usually stand on its own as a specific disease, but rather it stems from other underlying illnesses and can serve as a red flag that there is a much more serious problem below the surface.

Treatment for anemia, depending on the severity of each case, can include everything from taking a few supplements to undergoing a medical procedure. Most of the time, anemia can be prevented by making a few changes in your eating habits.

If you suspect you might have an anemic disorder, or a serious iron deficiency, check yourself for the following symptoms.

 iron deficiency

Dark Circles

Iron is essential for production of blood in the body. Lack of iron means fewer red blood cells and therefore not enough oxygen reaches the skin tissues. This can result in the skin around your eyes to darken. 

Itchy Skin

Iron deficiency does have the tendency to cause itchy skin. Few studies also state that lack of iron can be associated with eczema symptoms. Low iron levels will make you look paler with a risk of experiencing dry and itchy skin.

Hair Loss

Iron deficiency leads to low hemoglobin production in your blood. Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen to the body’s cells, including the cells that stimulate hair growth. Iron deficiency can make your hair look dull and cause considerable amount of hair fall. Notice how you sometimes experience more hair fall during your period? It is because your iron levels can get low during that time, if you have a heavy flow.

If iron deficiency persists over the long term, hair loss, even for women, can occur due to oxygen deprivation. Healthy oxygen levels are needed to maintain healthy hair and nail growth. When the body becomes deprived of oxygen, “it sends your body into survival mode, so your body channels oxygen to support vital functions as opposed to ones like keeping your hair intact. Most scalps lose about 100 hairs a day, so don’t prematurely panic if you find yourself shedding a wee bit!

Pale Complexion

If your naturally rosy hue is suddenly pale and blanched, you may be iron deficient. The reason for this is because iron promotes hemoglobin production, the source of that pink and luminescent glow that occurs in our cheeks. If iron is low, a change in skin color will be one of the first noticeable signs. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to determine if there is a lack of rosiness in your cheeks or if you’re just pale in skin tone.

White Lips and Gums

Another way to check for iron deficiency is to look at the inside of your lips and gums. If they lack healthy red coloring, your body may be lacking precious iron. In addition to white gums and lips, someone who is iron deficient will have dry, cracked lips. The type of cracked lips associated with iron deficiency is called angular cheilitis because it happens at the corners of the mouth.

Sore or Swollen Tongue

In addition to robbing that healthy red hue from your skin, lips, and gums, your tongue may suffer lack of color, inflammation, tenderness, and an odd smooth texture. When the tongue becomes swollen and tender, it’s called atrophic glossitis. The tongue will expand to the point that the usual bumps on the surface disappear, making it appear smooth. Not surprisingly, a swollen tongue has terrible side effects, such as being unable to chew, swallow, or even talk!

Brittle Nails

You can tell a lot about a person’s health by looking at their nails. For example if a person has weak, brittle, or “spoon nails,” which is also known as koilonychia, they could be suffering from an iron deficiency. However,we note that this is a less common symptom of iron deficiency.