Ever have moments during the day when you go from high spirits to feeling like you want to lay down just minutes later? Due to mother nature and Aunt Flow, women have a higher risk of iron deficiency, leaving us vulnerable to more than a few surprise blah days.
You’ll know you’re anemic when your body isn’t getting enough iron. It’s needed to create hemoglobin, the most important element in red blood cells and transports oxygen through your body. The Centers for Disease Control report about 9 percent of women have an iron deficiency, and the chance is even higher the more physically active she is. Count on your body to tell you when it’s need, even if it’s in the strangest way. Here are some signs to look out for.
Fatigue & shortness of breath
This common sign still surprises most people. When your body can’t create Hemoglobin, your blood cell count drops and your tissues don’t get the oxygen you need. That’s when you begin to feel tired, leading with feeling shortness of breath and soreness when doing every day things like taking the stairs.
An appetite for dirt
There’s a name for that kid you knew who ate dirt. If that kid was you, you may have been missing iron in your diet. It’s called Pica, and while very common among children, it can occur during pregnancy. The compulsion is, in some cases, triggered by iron deficiency anemia or a lack of similar nutrients. This sign is hard to spot because those with these cravings won’t admit it. Be careful with this one. It could lead to possible complications like infection or intestinal blockage.
Another form of pica is called pagophagia (compulsive ice chewing), which is a severe symptom of anemia. University of Pennsylvania researchers theorize that the craving actually keeps you alert once the deficiency makes them sluggish. Or it could soothe their swollen tongues, another sign that the body is missing iron.
When your body and its tissues aren’t getting the oxygen it needs, neurotransmitter synthesis may alter and slow you down along with ability to stay focused on a single task.
A lot your bodies deficiencies can be seen by looking at your nail health. Everything from the color to the texture can determine your overall health. When you have an iron deficiency, your nails develop a spoon-shaped depression near the cuticle.
When to see a doctor
If you checked off 2 or more of the symptoms above, it could be time to see a doctor. However, it’s possible your symptoms aren’t as extreme as these. Pay most attention to energy levels throughout the day. Do you often feel weak or dizzy when your walking or after exercising? See your doctor instead of buying supplements. This can be dangerous and too much iron can be the cause of bone loss and liver damage.