If you have iron deficiency, you may not realise it, because 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 feeling:
- extremely tired and weak
- short of breath
- your heart beating fast and irregularly, or both
- dizzy and light-headed.
You might also look pale, have brittle nails, have unusual cravings (such as for ice or starch) and get sick more often than usual.
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.
Last reviewed: March 2017