Having an iron deficiency is no laughing matter. The body requires iron to carry oxygen through the blood cells all over the body. When you have an iron deficiency your body does not get the oxygen it needs throughout the body and you will then feel very tired and often have difficulty breathing.
The best way to find out if you have an iron deficiency is to arrange an appointment with you doctor. He or she will most likely ask you a battery of questions about your health history and if anemia runs in your family. You will also have to have blood drawn for tests to determine if you have an iron deficiency.
If you are diagnosed with an iron deficiency, your physician may require you to take a prescription medication that will help you reverse the deficiency. You will also be required to eat a diet that is rich in iron-fortified foods. Your diet may be monitored so that you do not eat too much iron, but just enough to make sure that you are no longer experiencing the iron deficiency.
If you notice that you are feeling sluggish and tired, you may already have an iron deficiency. When you have an iron deficiency, you might also experience shortness of breath or you might simply have difficulty taking a deep breath.
You might also experience other symptoms like headaches, irritability, brittle fingernails, racing heartbeat, the desire to eat dirt, restless legs, and cold hands and feet. If you are experiencing a combination of any of these symptoms and others, you should let your doctor know immediately. It is also a good idea that you start to each foods with iron as a major nutrient.
There are many foods that are rich in iron and they come from a variety of different food groups. You do not just have to eat red meat to get iron into your diet. It is important that you do not eat too much iron in your diet, because that can be damaging to your liver which can create an entire new battery of problems.
Iron rich foods include eggs, beans, raisins and apricots, dark leafy greens (think of Popeye and spinach), pork, red meat, and seafood. Often, cereals and other grain-based foods have iron added because children eat them.
It is also recommended that anyone who is trying increase the amount of iron in their bodies should also take a Vitamin C supplement because that vitamin helps the body digest iron. Sometimes an iron deficiency comes from intestinal and digestive problems or a lack of vitamin C to help the body digest it properly.
Iron deficiencies can also happen during menstruation as the body removes menstrual blood from the body. If you feel extremely sluggish during your period, you can talk to your doctor about prescribing a birth control pill that will reduce the amount of blood in your periods.