What Is Iron Deficiency?

What Is Iron Deficiency?

Iron is an essential nutrient for your body, which you get from your food. It is needed for your mental and physical health and to keep your energy levels up. Sometimes your body’s demand for iron can outstrip supply, and this can lead to iron deficiency. Iron deficiency causes many symptoms including fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing symptoms it is important that you talk to your doctor so that they can investigate what is causing them. If tests show that your iron levels are low, your doctor may recommend iron therapy.

For more information about how iron deficiency arises, its symptoms, and possible treatment options, click on the patient information links.

Learn about Iron Deficiency

Iron is needed by your body to produce energy and to improve your mood and concentration. Normally there is a healthy balance between the supply of iron in your diet and the amount that your body needs. Despite this, there are many ways that you can become iron deficient, for example through blood loss or if your diet does not supply enough iron. Amongst other symptoms, this can lead to fatigue. You might experience fatigue as feeling “listless”, “washed out”, or “cranky”. Other signs that you might be iron deficient include looking pale, feeling the cold, dizziness and craving to eat non-food items.

Talking to Your Doctor

If you have been feeling fatigued or have any other signs of iron deficiency such as paleness, dizziness or a racing heart, you may want to speak to your doctor. It could be that you are iron deficient but there may be another condition causing your symptoms. To get the most out of your visit it is useful to think about the information that the doctor might need in order to work out what is causing your symptoms. You could also plan the questions that you would like to ask. This section expands on the points that you might want to mention to your doctor.

Do You Feel "More Than Just Tired"?

Everyone gets tired from time to time, but if you feel exhausted every day, you may be suffering from fatigue. It can be useful to consider your lifestyle and daily stresses and strains and to find out what, if anything, makes you feel more awake and energised. If you are experiencing fatigue, you may feel physically and mentally exhausted and lack energy for a number of days each week, even if you have not been doing any physical activities that are particularly tiring. There are many causes of fatigue, including iron deficiency. Speak to your doctor about your fatigue and use the fatigue questionnaire to track your tiredness.