Why iron levels can drop
Thankfully iron deficiency is relatively uncommon, but certain people are at higher risk. Infants, teens and the elderly can all have specific growth or health issues that can lead to falling short; women who have heavy periods or are pregnant can also need more of the mineral; vegans and vegetarians may come up short if they’re not careful with their diet. Here are the signs to keep an eye out for.
You feel tired and weak
Fatigue is probably the symptom most commonly associated with iron deficiency. The reason for the exhaustion? A lack of oxygen flowing through your body. “When you have anaemia, you have fewer blood cells to carry oxygen to vital organs of the body,” says Dr Ian Tong. “This oxygen deficit is global and can cause vague symptoms like fatigue, headache, and weakness.”
You’re even more short of breath when you exercise
When you have iron deficiency, it’s hard for your body to get the oxygen it needs when it’s active. That’s why one of the more common signs of iron-deficiency (and its more serious form, anaemia) is the decreased ability to exercise, explains professor Dr Marc J. Kahn. So if you now find yourself short of breath during a brisk walk that was a piece of cake a few months ago, see your health provider.