Iron deficiency

10 surprising symptoms of iron deficiency


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10 surprising symptoms of iron deficiency

Iron is an essential mineral that plays a key role in the health and function of our body. A deficiency of this important nutrient can therefore lead to a variety of symptoms. While some of these are common knowledge, there are other, less obvious signs that may surprise you. Here are ten such symptoms that could indicate an iron deficiency.

1. Persistent fatigue

Fatigue can have many causes, but if it persists despite adequate sleep, iron deficiency could be the culprit. Iron helps carry oxygen into cells, and a deficiency can lead to decreased energy.

2. Pale skin

Pale skin color, especially on the inner surfaces of eyelids or lower lip, may be a sign of iron deficiency anemia.

3. Shortness of breath

Simple activities like climbing stairs or taking short walks could become unexpectedly strenuous if your body lacks iron.

4. Frequent headaches

Insufficient oxygen transport to the brain due to iron deficiency can lead to headaches or even migraines.

5. Brittle nails

If you notice that your nails break easily or have indentations, this could indicate a lack of iron.

6. Swollen tongue or cracks in the corners of the mouth

Changes in the look or feel of your tongue, as well as cracks in the corners of your mouth, are lesser-known symptoms of iron deficiency.

7. Unusual cravings

A lack of iron can lead to unusual cravings, such as the desire to eat soil, ice cream, or even paper.

8. Restless legs syndrome

A constant urge to move your legs, especially at night, may indicate an iron deficiency.

9. Increased susceptibility to infection

Iron plays a role in the immune system. A deficiency can increase your susceptibility to infections.

10. Tachycardia or irregular heartbeat

When the body tries to carry more oxygen, it can lead to an accelerated or irregular heartbeat.


Iron deficiency can cause a variety of symptoms, some of which may be surprising. If you notice several of these symptoms, you should consult a doctor and have your iron levels checked. It is important to recognize the signs early on so that appropriate measures can be taken to correct the deficiency.

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