Vitamin deficiency: Three warning signs seen and felt on the hands

Doctor advises what to eat to help an iron deficiency

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Iron deficiency anaemia leads to faulty red blood cells, which impacts oxygen circulation. As such, symptoms of the condition intensify until treatment begins. Experts at the Mayo Clinic warn of “pale skin” that can extend from your face, down to your body, and even to your fingertips. With eyes lingering on your fingertips, check if the nails are brittle.

Brittle nails are indicative of iron deficiency anaemia – how do they feel?

Also notice how warm or cold your hands are; cooler hands could be a sign of a circulatory issue.

As the body becomes more deficient in iron, other signs and symptoms might emerge.

Examples include extreme fatigue, weakness, chest pain, a fast heartbeat or shortness of breath.

Iron deficiency may also lead to headaches, dizziness, or lightheadedness in some people.

Other possible symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia include:

  • Cold feet
  • Inflamed or sore tongue
  • Cravings for ice, dirt or starch
  • Poor appetite.

Why iron matters

Iron is needed by the body to produce haemoglobin, a part of red blood cells that gives blood its red colour.

Haemoglobin also enables the red blood cells to carry oxygenated blood throughout the body.

Foods rich in iron

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Leafy, green vegetables
  • Iron-fortified foods.

Diet is not the only reason why an iron deficiency can develop.

Other causes can include celiac disease whereby the intestines are unable to absorb nutrients, such as iron, from digested food.

The NHS listed possible symptoms of coeliac disease, such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating and flatulence
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting.

Iron deficiency might also arise from blood loss, which can be triggered in numerous ways.

For instance, heavy menstrual flows could be a contributing factor to a lack of iron.

This is because blood contains iron within red blood cells, which can be lost during menstruation.

Alternatively, or in addition to menstruation, a peptic ulcer could also lead to an iron deficiency.

Medical News Today explained that a peptic ulcer “is a sore that forms when digestive juices wear away the lining of the digestive system”.

A peptic ulcer can occur in the lining of the stomach, duodenum, or lower part of the oesophagus.

Symptoms of a peptic ulcer might include:

  • Difficulty swallowing food
  • Food that is eaten comes back up
  • Feeling unwell after eating
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite.

Iron supplementation might be recommended by your doctor to treat an iron deficiency anaemia, but the original cause must first be diagnosed.

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