We’ve all heard of the mineral iron and we know that it is necessary for a health. However just how much about iron do you really know?
Well, for one, there are many people who suffer from iron deficiency. You might even be showing little signs of lacking enough iron and remain under the impression that your body is in tip top shape.
But let’s take a deeper look at what iron does for the body and why we need it so much.
Iron is used in the manufacture of hemoglobin. This is a protein whose main function is to absorb oxygen and deliver it to the muscle cells. A lack of iron means less hemoglobin which also means less red blood cells.
How can you tell whether you have low levels of the mineral iron in your body? lets find out.
The first thing that doctors will do when you go in for a checkup to find out your iron levels is to check for paleness in areas such as the inside of the lips, gum, inside the eyes, or under the nails.
This is because hemoglobin gives blood its distinctive red color. Lower levels of iron means less hemoglobin which in turn results in paleness.
- Feeling unusually tired
So, we found that iron is needed to make the hemoglobin that transports energy and oxygen to the body cells. If you have less of it, then your tissues are simply not getting enough oxygen. This will leave you feeling tired.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The heart has to work harder to push the fewer blood cells there are to transport energy to the various parts of the body.
- Hard breathing
When you are doing hard and physically strenuous tasks and you notice yourself breathing hard, that’s the body trying to get in more oxygen. However, if normal tasks that were simple to accomplish earlier are now that much harder such as walking or climbing stairs, then there is a chance you have iron deficiency.
The prudent thing is to visit your doctor to find out more.
- Dry skin
What happens when there is less than ideal amounts of oxygen in the blood? Well, the body directs the little oxygen there is to more critical body parts while the skin and hair simply lack sufficient energy.
Lacking enough oxygen makes the skin dry out. You may even notice a higher rate of hair loss.
- Weak fingernails
Some people have naturally weak fingernails but if you notice that yours are cracking and breaking easily, then this could be a sign of iron deficiency.
In severe cases the edges of your nails could bend upwards while the middle dips. This creates a trough like shape and the condition is called koilonychia. However, it only happens in extremely severe and rare cases.
Note that there are many varied causes for dizziness and headaches but one of them just happens to be iron deficiency.
The brain needs oxygen. As we’ve seen, less iron equals less hemoglobin equals less oxygen in the blood. If the brain lacks enough oxygen, the nerves may swell which would cause headaches and dizziness.