Talk of malnutrition and we have no “deficiency” of malnourished population worldwide. Quite an unfortunate phenomenon, nevertheless very much a fact! One of the most common nutritional deficiencies is “Iron Deficiency”. It is nothing but a decreased level of iron from the body cells. Iron has many vital functions in the body, and when its level declines, one starts showing iron deficiency symptoms.
There are many such symptoms, however one of the most prominent and direct effect is “Iron deficiency Anemia”. It can be a result of iron loss or a diet with inadequate iron. In this disease hemoglobin formation is severely compromised, and it shows a number of symptoms of iron deficiency, such as fatigue, anxiety, irritability, constipation, mouth ulcers, hair loss, depression, breathlessness, heavy menstrual period, poor appetite, and many more.
Although these iron deficiency symptoms are mostly observed in “Iron Deficiency Anemia”, and even if general iron deficiency symptoms are not much different from these, there are few symptoms that characterize the effects that are apparent in most common instances of iron deficit.
The causes of iron deficiency, besides food with fewer irons, are chronic bleeding (including menstrual and non-menstrual bleeding), malabsorption syndrome, fever, and sometimes even blood donation. Genetic reasons have not yet been detected that may cause iron deficiency.
One of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency is fatigue. It includes both physical as well as mental exhaustion. In common occurrences of iron deficit, four “P”s have been widely noted, which are Pallor, Pica, Plummer-Vinson Syndrome, and Pagophagia. Their symptoms are…
Pallor: Migraine, weight gain, osteoporosis, cancer, albinism, panic attack, heart disease, scurvy, tuberculosis, sleep deprivation, etc.
Pica: Craving for dirt, chalk, laundry starch, cigarette ashes, burnt matchstick heads, animal feces, ice, rust, glue, hair, buttons, paper, sand, toothpaste, soap, etc. This is one of the most common effects of iron deficiency, and such cravings are mostly viewed in children and women, and can be dangerous due to possibility of poisoning.
Plummer-Vinson Syndrome: Difficulty in swallowing, pain, weakness, epithelial dysplasia. These symptoms are observed mostly in postmenopausal women.
Pagophagia: The symptoms are almost same as Pica.
Besides above mentioned effects, there are few other iron deficiency symptoms.
- People with iron deficit may experience pale skin on the lining of the eyes, the inner mouth, gums, and the nails. Moreover, finger nails can also become thin, brittle, and white. They may grow in-proportionately.
- Tongue becomes sore, shiny, and reddened.
- Rapid and forceful heartbeats are also noticed to be one of the effects of lack of irons.
- Disturbed sleep.
- Abdominal pain.
These are the common symptoms, and may be results of some other health problem. Therefore, before self-prescribing iron supplements one must consult the doctor. This is important, because if one starts taking iron-pills despite not having iron deficiency, it can prove to be unhealthy and create other problems.
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