Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency can affect both men and women. Here we explain the symtoms and suggest ways in which it can be treated.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

If you are feeling weak, iron deficiency may be what you are suffering from. This leads to iron deficiency anaemia, a condition where there is a decrease in the amount of red blood cells in the blood.

Symptoms include paleness, dizziness, shortness of breath, brittle nails, headaches, decreased appetite, feelings of exhaustion and an overall lack of energy. Some sufferers also report always feeling cold as iron deficiency means that your body is less able to regulate its temperature.

Why is Iron Important?

The reason this mineral is so vital to life is that it helps form haemoglobin, the part of your blood that is responsible for carrying oxygen. People with this kind of anaemia tend to feel tired all the time because their bodies are being systematically starved of oxygen. They also are unable to produce enough myoglobin, which helps the cells in your muscles to store oxygen.

Women and Iron Deficiency

Women are more vulnerable to anaemia because of the blood loss caused by menstruation and because their bodies store less iron than men. Other factors that can lead to anaemia include pregnancy, growth spurts or blood loss due to haemorrhaging. However often the problem is a question of diet as sufferers are not getting a high enough daily intake.

Sources of Iron

You also need to consider your bodys ability to absorb what you eat. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb this mineral better. Vegetarians can be at risk because they do not eat red meat but vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, are also excellent sources. If you are worried that you are anaemic, ask your doctor for a simple blood test to find out.

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