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Sore Tongue? Chapped Lips? It Could Be Iron Deficiency – Here’s How

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What are the symptoms of iron deficiency? Iron is essential for the functionality of hemoglobin, a protein needed to transport oxygen in the blood. It also plays a role in various important processes within the body. A lack of iron in the blood can lead to multiple health problems, including iron deficiency anemia. Many people suffer from symptoms of iron deficiency. Let’s explore the various symptoms that can appear when there is a lack of iron.

Heart Palpitations

Surprisingly, a lack of iron can cause heart palpitations. When the heart is overburdened, it can suffer from irregular contractions, heart murmurs, or heart enlargement. These symptoms can also occur if anemia develops due to iron deficiency. According to one study, there is a correlation between heart disease and iron deficiency. If you have heart problems, checking your iron levels is a good idea.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is when you feel discomfort when your legs are still, leading to a constant desire to move them. You might have restless leg syndrome if you can’t remain still for a moment and keep fidgeting. In the U.S., about 15% of patients with restless leg syndrome have been found to have iron deficiency as the cause, and the symptoms worsen as iron levels decrease. Along with genetic factors, iron deficiency increases the likelihood of developing restless leg syndrome.

Unexplained Anxiety

Modern people can experience stress for various reasons. However, you might have an iron deficiency if you’re feeling increasingly anxious due to stress, even when there’s no reason to be stressed. When there’s a lack of oxygen, it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, causing this phenomenon. If you’re low on iron, your heart can beat wildly, and you can feel restless even when you should be resting comfortably.

Hair Loss

Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is another symptom of iron deficiency. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which in turn triggers hair loss. When anemia occurs, our body sends oxygen to the most critical areas first, leaving the areas that protect our hair deprived of oxygen and unable to function properly.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

If you frequently have diarrhea or stomach pain, you might have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. These inflammatory bowel diseases can cause problems with absorbing nutrients like iron, which can damage the digestive tract and continue to cause inflammation. If you have inflammatory bowel disease, it is recommended that you discuss with your doctor how to increase iron absorption.

Swollen Tongue

Can iron deficiency cause a swollen tongue? Yes, it can lead to atrophic glossitis, where the tongue swells, and the papillae on the tongue’s surface disappear, making it smooth. According to a 2013 study, 27% of 75 patients with iron deficiency anemia experienced dry mouth, a burning sensation, and atrophic glossitis. In this condition, it can be difficult to chew, swallow, or speak; depending on the person, they may also have a craving for ice.

Chapped Lips

In the cold and dry winter, anyone can quickly get chapped and cracked lips. However, if your lips remain chapped and do not heal even in spring and summer, iron deficiency could be the cause. In such cases, no matter how much cream or ointment you apply, your lips won’t become smooth. To solve the problem, you need to consume enough iron.

Abnormal Nails

If your nails are rough and concave for no apparent reason, it’s a sign of a severe iron deficiency. Iron deficiency anemia can cause spoon nails, where the center of the nail thins and the edges bulge, making the nails look like spoons. This symptom can also be caused by heart disease or hypothyroidism. Still, it is a representative symptom when the amount of iron needed for red blood cell production decreases, causing iron deficiency anemia.

Pale Skin

Iron deficiency can make your skin pale. Our blood is red because it contains the pigment-protein hemoglobin, which is also why our skin has a rosy hue. If you’re low on iron, the production of hemoglobin decreases, causing your skin, such as your face, to pale. Mainly, if the inside of your lips, gums, or lower eyelids are less red than usual, it could be due to iron deficiency.

Shortness of Breath

Iron is closely related to oxygen. It’s an important component in producing the pigment-protein hemoglobin, which helps red blood cells supply oxygen to the body. Therefore, even if you take deep breaths, if the amount of oxygen provided to the tissues in the body is low, you’ll feel short of breath. This symptom can occur after climbing stairs or exercising, but it may be due to iron deficiency.

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