Symptoms of low iron levels include redness in the bottom eyelids, lips, and gums. You might also be short of breath, especially if you’re exercising or performing other strenuous activities. Heart disease is another common cause of low iron levels. Your heart is overworked and has trouble pumping blood. You may even notice enlarged or failing heart.
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, can also cause low iron levels. Although most people don’t know it, symptoms of hypothyroidism can include low energy, weight gain, and low body temperature. Pregnancy can also deplete the body of iron. Many women lose significant amounts of blood during delivery, which lowers iron levels. Pregnant women often need to supplement their iron intake and boost their B12 levels, which are necessary for the formation of red blood cells.
When you have an iron deficiency, your body is unable to produce adequate amounts of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. When your blood doesn’t have enough hemoglobin, you’re not getting enough oxygen, resulting in anemia. Anemia can be asymptomatic, or it can be a sign of a serious illness.
If you suspect an iron deficiency, your GP can carry out a blood test to find out the exact level of iron in your body. A dietary change or a simple blood test may be recommended by your doctor. Although iron supplements may increase iron absorption, they will not correct the absorption of other minerals in your body. For more serious cases, your GP may prescribe a blood test or suggest an iron supplement.