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How to Tell if You have Low Iron or Iron Deficiency Anemia

By Edited Nov 24, 2013 0 3

Menstruating and lactating women as well as those who eat diets that have a low-iron intake or have a limited intake of iron-rich foods such as eggs and red meat, are typically more likely to suffer from anemia, however, that is not always the case. Anemia, on some level, affects thousands of people every year and can often go unnoticed and untreated.

Here you will find out what some of the symptoms and warning signs are that can be indicative that you are dealing with a deficiency or, potentially, iron related anemia.

Unexplained weakness and fatigue with minimal to no exertion can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia. Some individuals may experience weakness and dizziness as well especially if they have not eaten in a while. For many sufferers, this is a common complaint and often one of the first noticeable signs.

As well, if you find yourself irritable or easily irritated, this too can be a sign and symptom of anemia or a deficiency. – You may now have an explanation for those unprovoked mood swings!

Heart palpitations can be a more extreme symptom. This typically occurs in extreme cases and those that have gone undiagnosed or unnoticed for an extended period of time. Palpitations may even seem to come and go temporarily if there is a fluxuation in iron-levels.

Complexion or skin tone changes, which appear slightly colorless or paler than normal along with brittle finger and toe nails, can also be indicative that your levels are too low or deficient.

Gas and mild abdominal pain can also cause trouble for some and may be a warning that you may be a sufferer. This symptom will be experienced more often in someone with an iron-deficiency.

These are not all of the symptoms that a person may experience nor will everyone with deficiencies such as these experience all of these symptoms. However, these are some of the most common signs depending on the severity and length of time an individual has been dealing with deficient iron-levels.


If you are a breastfeeding mother of a young child and use WIC you and your child may have had the finger/toe prick test at one of your checkups. This is typically done to check the level of iron in your blood to see if you are taking in enough iron-rich foods or are in need of supplementation.

If you suspect that you may suffer from this condition, this can, more often then not, be dealt with using simple diet changes or by adding supplements into your day to day routine. Find out for sure by setting up an appointment with your physician, before any lifestyle changes. A quick and simple blood test, sometimes something as simple as the finger prick test, from your doctor can tell you for sure if you are dealing with anemia or a relative deficiency.


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This article is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any medical condition. This article is intended for informational purposes only. Treatment, diagnosis, prevention and anything else medical related can only be authorized by a medical professional.



Apr 26, 2009 9:50am
Great article.

I had an iron deficiency when I was pregnant and it was awful. It took about 6 weeks for the medicine to kick in. I started taking Ferrous Gluconate which I was able to buy for just about $5 a bottle of 100 pills and started cooking as much as possible with a cast iron skillet as I read that could even help. I started craving foods that were high in iron as well. It took a while for the breathlessness and weakness to subside. The only concern with increasing your iron substantially is constipation so anyone increasing their iron should also increase their fiber at the same time.
Apr 27, 2009 7:35pm
That is great additional information DanaPrince. Thank you! Fiber is extremely important when you are taking anything to increase your iron levels.
Sep 9, 2010 8:04pm
Thank you for this information!
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