About one third of the world’s population is iron deficient – yet many people are unaware
that they are lacking in this vital nutritional mineral.
'The difficult thing with iron deficiency is the symptoms can go unnoticed for some time,' explains Priceline pharmacist Amy Sabatini, who tells how to spot the signs.
Iron deficiency refers to having low iron stores in the red blood cells. Amy explains that this is problematic because 'iron is essential to various bodily functions, including the transportation of oxygen in the blood' to all parts of the body.
There are a multitude of causes of iron deficiency. ‘It could be inadequate dietary intake of iron, blood loss (including child birth and menstruation), inability to absorb iron as a result of surgery such as a gastric bypass, or as a result of certain disorders like coeliac disease,’ Amy says.
Iron deficiency symptoms are subtle, but Amy says to look for a combination of ‘fatigue, weakness, pale skin, dizziness, shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, an irregular heartbeat and brittle nails’.
Don’t self-diagnose! If you suspect an iron deficiency, see your doctor. ‘They will order a full blood count,’ Amy says. If an iron deficiency is diagnosed, a doctor in conjunction with your pharmacist will devise a treatment plan, which may include lifestyle changes and iron supplements.
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