Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia — a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues.1 About 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men do not have enough iron in their body.2
Initially, iron deficiency anemia can be so mild that it goes unnoticed. But as the body becomes more deficient in iron and anemia worsens, the signs and symptoms intensify.
Iron deficiency anemia signs and symptoms may include: Extreme fatigue, Weakness, Pale skin, Chest pain, Fast heartbeat or shortness of breath, Headache, Dizziness or lightheadedness, Cold hands and feet, Inflammation or soreness of the tongue, Brittle nails, Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch, Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia.1
Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the body doesn’t have enough iron to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that gives blood its red color and enables the red blood cells to carry oxygenated blood throughout the body. If one isn’t consuming enough iron, or if they’re losing too much iron, their body can’t produce enough hemoglobin, and iron deficiency anemia will eventually develop.1