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People with anemia often feel seriously fatigued, even when they are getting enough sleep. This is because a lack of oxygen throughout the body means the systems are unable to process the nutrients needed to create energy, resulting in constant lethargy. This will cause people to need more regular rests and have less energy for normal day-to-day things.


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Having an iron deficiency means you may often experience headaches that range in severity from light pressure to a pounding that causes severe pain. These headaches often go hand-in-hand with light headedness or dizziness, especially when you stand up quickly or you begin to exercise. In severe cases, this can cause fainting spells. These symptoms all occur due to a lack of oxygen reaching the brain.

Strange cravings

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Perhaps one of the strangest symptoms of anemia is craving unusual things, such as dirt or ice cubes. This is a medical condition named Pica, and it can leave people concerned about their mental health, and is a fairly common symptom of anemia. Studies have shown that when individuals take iron supplements, their symptoms of Pica dies off. It is still unclear how this is linked to an iron deficiency.

Shortness of breath

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Shortness of breath, unless it’s due to an obvious factor, could be a sign of anemia. Though there are many reasons for this symptom, if it is persistent and occurs along with other anemia symptoms, then it is likely to go hand-in-hand with an iron deficiency. Anemia can cause undue pressure on the lungs, as they work overtime to bring in air to combat the lack of oxygen.

Chest pain

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Your heart is incapable of working without oxygen, so a lack of oxygen to the heart has many causes, and one of these causes can be anemia. Cardiologists have observed that many people with heart diseases have anemia, and those with anemia have a higher risk of developing heart diseases. Anyone experiencing chest pain should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Irregular Heartbeat

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Another early warning sign of anemia is an irregular heart beat that slows down and speeds up with no connection to physical exertion. This occurs when the body attempts to raise energy levels by circulating the blood throughout the blood vessels at a faster speed. This is aiming to spread hemoglobin and therefore oxygen to the organs in need. Fatigue almost always accompanies this symptom.

Cold hands and feet

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When issues with blood flow develop, the brain has an uncanny way of knowing which areas of the body need blood the most, and will therefore try to bring more oxygen-rich blood to those major organs, to protect them. As a result, the places that aren’t as important, like hands and feet, will recieve less blood. Poor circulation to these extremities translates into cold hands and feet.

Brittle nails

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Every single part of the human body relies on oxygen, and fingernails and toenails are no exception. When the nails stop receiving oxygen from the blood, the nailbed has reduced captivity to create new cells to keep the nails strong. This means the nails will lack elasticity that healthy blood can bring, rendering the nails dry and brittle and easily breakable, prone to peeling and splitting.

Pale skin

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When the body must give the blood supply to the areas that are most important, the brain and heart will always win without a doubt. As a result of blood being rerouted to the vital organs, the skin is another area which will receive less. When the occurs, the skin becomes paler, and if the anemia becomes severe, the skin can become gray and ashy. This is one of the more immediately concerning symptoms of the condition.

Restless legs

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Studies have found that restless leg syndrome goes hand-in-hand with low iron. This syndrome is where an individual is prone to jerking or jiggling their legs almost uncontrollably, and it’s worse at night often times, disrupting sleep. Iron supplements have found to reduce this symptom, though it’s important to not that anemia is not the only cause of restless leg syndrome.