Low iron affects many different people. It can be the result of a poor diet, where you don't eat enough foods that are rich in iron, the body's inability to process iron, or from excessive blood loss. Low iron is more common in women due to frequent blood loss from menstruation, but blood loss causing low iron levels can also be from a bleeding ulcer, injury, or the regular use of anti-inflammatory or blood thinning drugs.
Low iron levels over cause iron-deficiency anemia.
Anemia occurs when you do not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to your tissues. This is why people with low iron often feel tired. There are many types of anemia, and each of these types has a different cause. Anemia can occur for the short or the long term, and it has the ability to range from mild anemia to severe anemia. If you believe that you may have anemia, you need to see your doctor, because it can be a sign of very serious illness. The treatment of anemia can range from just taking vitamin supplements to actually needing medical procedures. Many forms of low iron can be prevented through a healthy diet.
There are a number of symptoms involved with low iron or anemia. First, if you are suffering from anemia, you often feel very tired. You may also experience shortness of breath and chest pain. Your skin may appear pale and you may have a headache and even feel that your hands and feet are cold. Dizziness and cognitive problems can also be present if you are suffering from anemia. Sometimes anemia may start off slowly and be mild enough that it may go unnoticed, but as the signs and symptoms increase, the anemia has become more severe.
If you are feeling very tired for unexplained reasons, you may be anemic. Be aware that this may not be the cause of your fatigue, but it is good to find out for sure, because if anemia is the cause of your fatigue, you need to seek treatment.
Often people learn that they have anemia because their hemoglobin is low when they go to donate blood. Having low hemoglobin may be temporary and may be resolved by eating more foods with iron in them or taking a multivitamin containing iron. It also can be a warning sign to you of blood loss in your body that may be the cause of you having blood loss that may cause you to be iron deficient. If you learn that you cannot donate blood due to low hemoglobin, contact your doctor.
The term "pica" is used by doctors to describe the craving and chewing of substances that have no nutritional value. Some of these substances may include clay, cornstarch, paper, or ice. Chewing ice is often associated with iron deficiency anemia. Doctors are not sure why many people with anemia crave the chewing of ice, but think that it may be because of ice's pain relieving properties, since some people with anemia have tongue pain and inflammation. For some people, the chewing of ice has nothing to do with anemia, but with emotional problems, like stress, developmental disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.