Written by mary Jane Brown, PhD, RD (UK) — medically reviewed through Imashi Fernando, MS, RDN — update on October 19, 2021

Iron deficiency occurs when your human body doesn’t have enough of the mineral iron.

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Your body requirements iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cell that allows them to bring oxygen about your body.

If your body no have enough hemoglobin, your tissues and also muscles won’t get sufficient oxygen to have the ability to work effectively. This leader to a condition called anemia.

Although there room different species of anemia, stole deficiency anemia is the many common type worldwide (1).

Signs and symptoms of steel deficiency vary depending on:

the severity of the anemia how easily it developsyour period your current state of health

In part cases, human being experience no symptoms.

Here space a few signs and also symptoms of iron deficiency, starting with the many common.

Unusual tiredness

Feeling very tired is among the most usual symptoms of stole deficiency anemia. This symptom can likewise be typical in world who simply don’t have enough iron, even if castle haven’t got a diagnosis that deficiency (2, 3).

This tiredness happens due to the fact that your human body lacks the stole it needs to make a protein dubbed hemoglobin, i beg your pardon helps bring oxygen roughly your body.

Without enough hemoglobin, less oxygen reaches your tissues and also muscles, depriving lock of energy. Your heart additionally has to work-related harder come move an ext oxygen-rich blood around your body, which deserve to make you worn down (2).

Since exhaustion is often taken into consideration a normal part of a busy, modern-day life, it deserve to be challenging to diagnose stole deficiency with this symptom alone.

However, that is feasible for some human being with steel deficiency to endure low energy alongside weakness, irritability, or challenge concentrating (4).


Fatigue is just one of the most usual symptoms of stole deficiency. This is because of less oxygen getting to body tissues, depriving lock of energy.

Skin the is paler than usual

Skin that is paler 보다 usual and also pale colour of the within of the reduced eyelids are other common symptoms of iron deficiency (5, 6).

The hemoglobin in red blood cells provides blood that is red color, so low levels throughout iron deficiency make the blood less red. It is why skin can lose few of its color or warm in civilization with iron deficiency.

A study in kids ages 6 to 11 discovered that paleness linked with steel deficiency may show up all over the human body or be limited to one area, such together the (7):


This is regularly one of the first things doctors will look at for together a sign of steel deficiency. However, it should be confirmed with a blood test (6).

Paleness is an ext commonly seen in moderate or severe cases of anemia (7).

If you traction your lower eyelid down, the inside layer should be a vivid red color. If the is a very pale pink or yellow color, this may indicate that you have actually iron deficiency. In people with darker skin tones, this might be the just area whereby it is noticeable.


Skin that is paler 보다 usual in areas such as the face, reduced inner eyelids, or nails might be a sign of center or major iron deficiency. This is led to by lower levels of hemoglobin, which provides blood that red color.

Hemoglobin allows your red blood cells to carry oxygen roughly your body.

When hemoglobin levels space low during iron deficiency, oxygen levels will additionally be low. This method your muscles won’t receive enough oxygen to do normal activities, such as walking (8).

As a result, your breathing price will increase as her body tries come get much more oxygen. This is why shortness of breath is a typical symptom (2).

If you find yourself the end of breath when doing normal, everyday tasks that you provided to uncover easy, such as walking, climb stairs, or functioning out, iron deficiency can be to blame.


Shortness the breath is a symptom of stole deficiency, due to the fact that low hemoglobin levels typical your body cannot successfully transport oxygen to your muscles and also tissues.

Iron deficiency may reason headaches, particularly in women (5, 9).

While the link between iron deficiency and headaches is tho unclear, researcher theorize there space several components at play, including the relationship in between altered dopamine function and estrogen levels. However, much more research requirements to it is in done prior to a conclusion can be made (10).

Although there room many causes of headaches, frequent, recurrent headaches might be a symptom of stole deficiency.


Headaches deserve to be a symptom of iron deficiency. Much more research is being excellent to look at the connection between dopamine dysfunction, estrogen levels, and iron deficiency.

Noticeable heartbeats, additionally known together heart palpitations, have the right to be an additional symptom of iron deficiency anemia.

The association in between iron deficiency, anemia, and heart troubles is still gift studied, but it may be related to oxygen it is provided (11).

Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that helps carry oxygen approximately the body. In stole deficiency, short levels of hemoglobin average the heart needs to work extra tough to carry oxygen.

This may result in irregular heartbeats or the feeling that your heart is beating abnormally fast.

In extreme cases, it have the right to lead to an enlarged heart, a love murmur, or heart failure (12, 13).


In cases of stole deficiency, the heart needs to work extra hard to move oxygen roughly the body. If left untreated, this have the right to lead to irregular or rapid heartbeats and also even love murmurs, an enlarged heart, or love failure.

Dry and also damaged skin and also hair can be indications of steel deficiency (14).

Iron deficiency lowers the level that hemoglobin in the blood, which may reduce the quantity of oxygen obtainable to cells that cause hair expansion (15).

When skin and also hair are deprived of oxygen, they can become dry and also weak.

Iron deficiency is also associated through hair loss, and also some research says it can be a cause (16, 17).

It’s completely normal for part hair to fall out during everyday washing and brushing. If you’re losing clumps or much an ext than normal, though, it may be related to iron deficiency.

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Skin and hair may receive much less oxygen indigenous the blood throughout iron deficiency, leading to them to end up being dry and also damaged. In more severe cases, this may cause hair loss.