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Iron deficiency symptoms

1-minute read

If you have iron deficiency, you may not realise it. It’s easy to mistake the signs of iron deficiency for simply feeling a bit run down. You may feel tired. You may find it hard to concentrate and hard to motivate yourself to do the things you need to do.

If your iron levels get so low that you become anaemic, you can get a range of symptoms, including:

  • being extremely tired and weak
  • being short of breath
  • your heart beating fast and irregularly, or both
  • being dizzy and light-headed
  • headache
  • cold hands and feet
  • sore or inflamed tongue
  • brittle nails
  • having cravings for unusual things like ice, dirt or starch

These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, and it’s important to see your doctor before taking any iron supplements.

To confirm whether you have iron deficiency, your doctor will talk to you and examine you. They may ask you to have a blood test to look at your iron levels and to check for anaemia. You may also need other tests to find out what is causing the iron deficiency.

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Last reviewed: January 2019

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