Symptoms or Winter Blahs?

Iron is an essential nutrient; your body needs iron to help carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of your body and helps produce energy. When you aren’t consuming or absorbing enough iron, there can be significant consequences to your health, energy levels, appearance, ability to concentrate, and so forth.

There are a few common symptoms that can often be confused for general sicknesses or the “winter blahs” but they should not be ignored as they could be a sign of iron deficiency:

Always Feeling Cold

As we all know, Winter brings along the dreaded cold weather, but if you find that you can never seem to shake the chill or get warm then this could be a sign of iron deficiency. Think of your body as a coal furnace and the iron as the coal; if you’re not putting enough coal into the furnace, then it will never create enough heat to warm up the entire house.
Until you appropriately fuel your body with the iron it needs, you will continue to feel cold, especially when others are not.

Read more here: Are You Always Cold?

Feeling Tired

Although the holidays are a time to kick back and relax with family and friends, it often brings about tons of shopping, numerous holiday parties to attend, and so forth. Feeling tired after a long and busy day is typical, but feeling that you are constantly in a state of fatigue is not. In fact, chronic fatigue is a common symptom of iron deficiency.

Chronic fatigue could be the cause of other underlying conditions such as diabetes, depression, thyroid problems, etc. It’s important to check if you have any other symptoms related to iron deficiency to help get to the bottom of the chronic fatigue.

Read more here: Experiencing Chronic Fatigue

Pale Skin

Unless you take off for a tropical vacation, you may be looking a little pale throughout the Winter season. However, you shouldn’t mistake this for just a lack of vitamin D from the sun. If you experienced a sudden onset of paleness, or have been unusually pale, it is advisable to seek the advice of a healthcare professional.

Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common causes for pale skin, and often one of the first noticeable signs. Since iron aids in producing hemoglobin which helps carry oxygen to your muscles and organs, paleness is caused by reduced blood flow.

It’s important to be proactive and be in-the-know when it comes to your symptoms and what they can mean. Utilize this Symptoms Checker to help identify your symptoms and if you are in an at-risk group.

Iron & Pregnancy Series with Dr. McLeod: Post-Partum

It’s perfectly normal for a new mother to be tired as she adjusts to life with a new baby, but if she is suffering from iron deficiency, then the fatigue and other symptoms can make it especially difficult and may even lead to long-term consequences for her and her baby.

Iron deficiency in pregnancy is common, as I noted in Part 2 of this series. The risk increases near the end of the pregnancy when the baby stores iron that it takes from the mother. And, the risk of anemia increases even further if she loses and excess amount of blood during child birth, as approximately 5% of women do.

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Iron Deficiency: From Symptoms to Supplements

You know those days where fatigue just gets the better of you and you spend your day feeling sluggish and unable to concentrate? If you were up late the night before or have had an especially hard and stressful week, then having a day like this may feel pretty normal. But, if you can’t pinpoint a cause for the way you’re feeling or find yourself feeling like that far too often, then you could be experiencing the symptoms of low iron.

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Iron & Pregnancy Series with Dr. McLeod: During Pregnancy

It’s no surprise that a woman’s body will undergo changes during pregnancy to accommodate the baby as it grows. One of the biggest changes is that of her blood. While this might not be an obvious change (like that of a growing belly), it’s a very important change that requires some effort on the mother’s part to avoid putting herself and her baby in harm’s way.

Iron deficiency in pregnancy is not only dangerous, but also far too common. In Canada, an estimated 50% of pregnant women are iron deficient. Women of childbearing age are already at a higher risk of developing iron deficiency due to regular blood loss and subsequent iron loss (from menstruation), but the risk increases significantly once pregnant.

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Is Your Child Overly Tired and Sleeping A Lot? It Might Be Iron Deficiency…

As a parent, you can’t help but be tickled pink when your child is a good sleeper. Getting enough sleep is important for them (and you!), but if your child seems to be sleeping an awful lot, then there might be a problem. There’s a difference between sleeping through the night and having chronic fatigue, which is a tell-tale sign of iron deficiency.

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Signs & Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

Many of the symptoms related to iron deficiency can be attributed to other causes in today’s often busy lifestyle. However, when there is a collection of specific symptoms, it would be in your best interest to check with your physician and exclude iron deficiency as a cause.

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Supplementation Options for Adults

If you have been diagnosed with iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia, chances are you been advised to use oral iron supplements, along with eating more foods rich in iron. Though there are several available at your pharmacy, resist the urge to just pick up any supplement because iron deficiency is not something you should try to treat on your own. Working with your doctor or pharmacist will allow you to get the right type and dose, and hopefully limit the undesired effects you may experience.

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