Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia

How to recover iron deficiencies
Sometimes we feel unwell for no apparent reason. We lack energy, are bothered by sleepiness, irritability, or lack of concentration. And the first thing we do is call ourselves lazy and fume because of procrastination.

And very rarely does it occur to us to go to the therapist or take a general blood test to make sure that we are not lazy at all, but just need to check our health.

According to the World Health Organization, 3 billion people in the world suffer from iron deficiency anemia. That sounds like an intimidating number, but it is also only an official statistic.

Nowadays, iron deficiency is all too common and, unfortunately, you can't always get everything you're worried about diagnosed in 15 minutes at the health center.

But there is a bright side: health is our personal responsibility!
Today we will look at the symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, the diagnosis and the basic steps leading to recovery.

Reminder! This article is of an introductory nature. For diagnosis and prescription of drugs, it is necessary to consult a general practitioner. Do not take iron medication as a prophylactic, it can harm your health.

First, let's understand why our body needs iron
and what causes iron deficiency?

-The gastrointestinal tract, gastric permeability and inflammation in the duodenum are the main prerequisites for good iron absorption.
-Impaired iron absorption can be seen in hard-core dieters, as well as adherents of plant-based diets with reduced gastric acidity.
-Celiac disease, Helicobacter pylori gastric colonization, candida fungus, helminths, and resection result in increased iron loss and decreased iron absorption.
-Major blood loss after severe trauma, hidden bleeding, childbirth, and surgery rank second among the causes of iron deficiency anemia.

- Growth spurts in children and increased (physical) exertion, any process of gaining muscle mass is associated with the risk of iron deficiency.
- Vitamin C deficiency and competing micronutrients also interfere with iron absorption.

Symptoms of iron deficiency

Test: 0-5 answers - mild symptoms, possibly signs of other deficiencies;
5-10 - you have the initial stage of GAD; 10-15 - severe symptoms; from 15 - you have iron deficiency anemia.

1. Weakness, increased fatigue.
2. Irritability, emotional lability.
3. Lack of concentration.
4. Reduced ability to work, decreased tolerance of physical activity.
5. Daytime sleepiness.
6. Headaches in the morning.
7. Decreased appetite.
8. Disgust or unhealthy appetite for certain foods (meat, chocolate, ice, sweets) and non-food substances (clay, wool).
9. Lower back heaviness/ache at the end of the day.
10. Involuntary desire to move/move my legs before falling asleep.
11. Predisposition to infections (herpes, acute respiratory viral infections, boils...). 12.
12. heavy menstrual periods.
13. Low blood pressure, tendency to faint in a stuffy room.
14. Shortness of breath and palpitations during normal physical exertion.
15. Chills in hands and feet, unmotivated subfebrile.
16. Dry skin, dry elbows, feet.
17. Skin itching.
18. Brittleness, striated nails.
19. Stomatitis, gonorrhea, cavities.
20. A bluish tint to the sclerae.
21. Difficulty in swallowing solid food, pills, capsules.
22. Decrease in muscle tone, muscle strength.
23. imperative urge to urinate, incontinence when laughing, sneezing, night urge to urinate.
24. Unsteady stools, constipation, decreased gastric secretion, atrophic gastritis.

Diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia

  • General blood count (including hemoglobin, erythrocytes, average hemoglobin per erythrocyte, average hemoglobin concentration in erythrocytes, average erythrocyte volume)
      Three main indicators are important to us at home: hemoglobin, ferritin, and total protein.

      1. Hemoglobin is our active iron, which has fused to a protein molecule and clings to oxygen, transporting it throughout the body to all tissues and organs. Note that hemoglobin can be elevated if you have thick blood, apnea syndrome, or nighttime snoring (as a defense mechanism against nocturnal hypoxia).
      2. Ferritin is the iron depot, our supply. We need it on the days when we "didn't get enough" iron or spent more than we got. Ferritin is more indicative because it is depleted faster than hemoglobin.
      3. We need to know the total protein to diagnose the cause of iron anemia. The fact is that iron cannot stay in the body without being bound to protein. Often a person gets enough iron, but not enough protein in the diet, so the iron can't be stored and just goes out.
      Additional testing:
      C-reactive protein.
      Vitamin B12, folic acid
      Copper, zinc, manganese
      Creatinine, urea (as indicators of protein metabolism).
      Fibrogastroduodenoscopy (especially for acidity)
      Blood for microbial markers (to assess microbiota for candidiasis or bacterial overgrowth syndrome)


      1. Depletion of iron stores in the depot - mild iron deficiency
      ferritin decreased below 30
      Serum iron-binding capacity
      elevated above 69
      Transferrin iron saturation coefficient is lower than 17
      hemoglobin concentration is still normal

      2. Iron deficiency anemia
      transferrin is decreased
      ferritin is decreased
      Serum iron-binding capacity is elevated
      Transferrin iron saturation coefficient is decreased
      hemoglobin decreased
      Reduced red blood cells possible

      How to restore iron deficiencies

      The first and most important thing is to go back up and determine exactly why you may be iron deficient. It is important to fix the problem in your system, not to get rid of the symptom. Few people talk about it, but if iron is not absorbed in your body for whatever reason, neither foods nor supplements will help you replenish it. A therapist can help you figure this out based on your test results and the rest of your diagnostics.

      In parallel with eliminating the cause, add foods high in iron to your diet: beef and offal, rabbit, chicken, spirulina, soybeans, cocoa, white beans, pumpkin seeds, cashews, tofu, flax, almonds, pine nuts, quinoa, walnuts, spinach, figs, green buckwheat, hazelnuts.

      The body should be restored to normalized ferritin, not hemoglobin. If the values are critically low, an iron bisglycinate preparation should be picked up, as diet alone will not do.

      - If there is nothing wrong with acidity, it is better to take iron preparations in the middle of a meal (at the height of appetite).
      - Do not wash them down with tea, coffee, milk, or cheese or cottage cheese.
      - Regularly take vitamin C together with foods that contain iron. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron.
      - Iron and zinc are in a competitive relationship and enter the cell through the same channel. Accordingly, if there is a lot of zinc, there will be no iron absorption; if there is a lot of iron, there will probably be a zinc deficiency. And if they come in equal amounts at different times of the day, the absorption will be equally good.
      - It is impossible to raise ferritin while total protein is low. So we add a lot of protein, watch the intake - 1-1.5 g per kg of weight per day when treating.

      Remember that our state of health is a combination of different factors. Look for the sources of problems, rather than treating symptoms that will come back again and again.
      I wish you strength, health, and new achievements without dizziness!