The Signs and Symptoms of Low Iron

November 12, 2012

The Signs and Symptoms of Low Iron

Iron is an important metal used by the body and brain for many purposes. One of its major jobs is to bind to hemoglobin and attract oxygen molecules. Hemoglobin in turn is carried by red blood cells to every tissue and organ of the body and delivers oxygen to those cells so they can carry on cellular respiration and make ATP the energy currency of the cell. Iron is also a component of myoglobin in muscle cells and is responsible for carring oxygen to muscle cells. Iron is also a part of the cytochromes which are found in mitochondria and responsible for electron transport during aerobic respiration during the process of making ATP. Iron is also needed for the making of DNA and for the generation of daughter cells to replace or grow new tissue. This highly magnetic element is also important for the production of connective tissue (glue stuff that holds our bodies together) and some neurotransmitters. Iron has such an important role in any organism’s survival that it becomes important to be able to recognize symptoms of low iron levels.

As it is important to maintain the proper levels of iron in the body, it is important to recognize symptoms of low iron. Maintaining a healthy diet certainly is your first line of defense but sometimes that is not sufficient. We all lose iron through urinating, sweating defecating and yes the sloughing off of skin cells which we do on a daily basis. A large loss of blood from bleeding, menstruation, pregnancy, hormonal imbalances and absorption problems can make great demands on iron supplies and demonstrate symptoms of low iron in the body.

When an iron deficiency occurs, there are a number of symptoms to look for. An iron deficiency means you can’t make enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to every tissue in the body generating anemia. You will know this as you become tired (fatigued), experience weakness and pale skin color. The paleness is due to lack of oxygen in your system. Oxygenated blood is bright red. The feeling of tiredness goes far beyond normal tiredness. You will have trouble keeping awake at any time of the day. You feel like you weigh a million pounds and your eyelids feel so heavy you can barely keep them open. In fact, you may just pass out on the spot. You’ll have difficulty getting up in the morning and never feel fully awake. These are the symptoms of low iron but iron deficiency can usually be corrected quite easily and quickly.

Make sure to make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can before your condition becomes serious and you can’t manage on your own. If you condition is serious, your doctor will probably give you a B12 and iron shot. Vitamin B12 is administered because you need B12 to make red blood cells as well as iron, so you need both. If your condition is not to serious, then you may get a prescription B12 or just need to get a good quality supplement at the store for B12 and iron. Either way you will take an upfront load to flood your system and get it going and then cut back on the dose some time later. By that time, your symptoms of low iron should be gone and you will have plenty of energy to do the things you need to do.


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