For The Ladies You know you're iron deficient when...

More often than not, women are at risk of being iron deficient owing to how the female reproductive system works.

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Iron is a most important nutrient as it is critical for producing hemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout the body.

More often than not, women are at risk of being iron deficient owing to how the female reproductive system works.

Even more likely is the fact that many women do not even know that they're iron deficient.

So feeling a little under the weather lately, or looking a little pale? Here are 15 signs you probably need to beef up your iron intake.

 

  1. You're feeling exhausted all the time: Before you chalk it up to work stress, it could just be that you're a little iron deficient.  Iron deficiency causes less oxygen to reach your tissues, so your body is deprived of the energy it needs. So if you're tired, unable to focus and just generally weak, then lack of iron just might be the culprit.

  2. You have heavy periods: This is generally usually the cause of iron deficiency as women lose a lot of blood during their period without necessarily gaining it back. If you find that your flow is heavier than normal then see a doctor, you could be losing iron.

  3. You're pale: Hemoglobin gives your blood its red color and  if the inside of your lips, your gums, and the inside of your bottom eyelids are less red than usual, low iron may be to blame.

  4. You're easily short of breath: As pointed out earlier, iron deficiency causes less oxygen flow. Thus if your oxygen levels are low, you'll feel out of air. If climbing a flight of stairs is causing you to pant for 5 minutes straight then you may want to check your iron levels.

  5. Your heart pounds: An overworked heart, owing to improper circulation of oxygen could can end up suffering from irregular heartbeats, heart murmurs, enlargement, and even heart failure in the worst case scenario.

  6. You have a restless leg syndrome: According to John Hopkins Medicine, as reported by MSN, about 15% of people with restless leg syndrome have iron deficiency.

  7. You have headaches: According to medical experts, in response to a shortage of oxygen in the brain, the brain's arteries can start to swell leading to headaches.

  8. You crave ice: Craving non-food substances such as ice, also referred to as pica can be a sign of of iron deficiency.

  9. You're anxious for no reason: Iron deficiency can trick you into feeling anxious. A lack of oxygen revs up your body's sympathetic nervous system, causing a feeling of anxiety.

  10. You're experiencing hair loss: Full blown iron-deficiency anemia can cause hair loss, as a lack of oxygen sends the body into survival mode, so the body channels oxygen to support vital functions like powering the brain as opposed to ones like keeping your hair intact.

  11. You're pregnant: According to the  the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, one in every 3 women is anemic and this figure largely includes pregnant women. Also, many women lose a substantial amount of blood during delivery, which can lower iron counts.

  12. Your tongue looks strange:  Low iron counts can reduce levels of myoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that supports muscle health, like the muscle that makes up the tongue. So, if you have a  sore, inflamed, and strangely smooth tongue, chances are you may be iron deficient.

 

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