Published By K. Aleisha Fetters on

“While most the attention is on iron deficiency, there is a concern as well for iron overload, which studies indicate can damage internal organs and may increase the risk of diabetes, heart attack and cancer, particularly in older people”


Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States, and women are among those at greatest risk. Iron is critical for producing hemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout your body. So without it, everything suffers — and can lead to anemia. Check out these symptoms of iron deficiency and, if you have them, see your doc and request a ferritin test, which measures your body’s iron stores.

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You’re exhausted.

The most common symptom of iron deficiency, it’s also possibly the most difficult one to detect. “Women are so used to having frenetic lives and feeling tired,” says Nancy Berliner, M.D., deputy editor of Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology. “They often just dismiss being tired as part of life.” However, iron deficiency causes less oxygen to reach your tissues, so your body is deprived of the energy it needs. If your “normal” fatigue is coupled with you feeling, weak, irritable or unable to focus, iron (or a lack thereof) might have something to do with it. After all, there’s a reason people whose iron deficiency progresses into anemia are often said to have “tired blood.”


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