An iron deficiency isn’t obvious to spot, but it can wreak havoc on your overall health, leaving you feeling lethargic and tired without an apparent explanation.  Restless leg syndrome, anemia, dypsnea, and an odd disorder called pica are all a result of having a low iron count.

Why Iron Is Important for Your Health

Restless leg syndrome causes uncomfortable feelings in your legs when you’re at rest and trying to sleep. It can cause insomnia because as you’re trying to fall into a slumber, your legs are still feeling like they need to get up and walk or move around. 

Some people who suffer from this, have reported that they experience involuntary movements with their legs when they’re at rest or an annoying tingling sensation that drives them to give up on getting rest so they get up and move around to make it go away.

The restlessness they feel usually can only subside when they move their legs around to wear them out. Although the exact cause of restless leg syndrome isn’t known, those who suffer say that an increase in iron helped alleviate the problem.

Anemia is another condition that’s caused by an iron deficiency. Anemia is when iron levels are low for a long period of time without relief, which makes red blood cell production ineffective. This disorder causes chronic fatigue and weakness for the person suffering from it.

It can also cause dypsnea, which is shortness of breath. The low iron levels cause oxygen to not flow freely, therefore sapping you of energy. You can also experience heart palpitations and increased sweat production, and it can even lead to heart failure if left untreated!

Pica is an odd disorder seen in people with a low iron count. Pica is a term used for those who crave unusual items that are considered not edible. Low iron causes your body to crave iron. Sometimes, this can result in people eating paper, buttons, and chalk – and in some cases – soil!

Pica can result in other hazardous conditions that may result from eating unhealthy items. Eating soil, for example, can cause a person to contract bacteria or microscopic worms. This behavior can sometimes be treated simply by consuming extra iron.

Low iron can cause excessive bleeding in menstruating women or women who shouldn’t be menstruating at that time. The blood is thinned to a point that blood clotting becomes a little more difficult and you could essentially lose other nutrients that your body needs.

If you think you’re low on iron, have your doctor run a simple blood test to find out if you’re anemic.  You don’t want to take too much iron – just enough to get your levels back to a normal, healthy state.

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