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How To Know If You Have Low Iron - At-Home Health Testing for Iron

Dr. Anthony Close
October 29, 2022
Iron
How To Know If You Have Low Iron - At-Home Health Testing For Iron 3

When working as an editor, I occasionally had to work long hours, and I got tired and dizzy. One day, it got so bad that I couldn't even stand up without feeling ill, so I went to the doctor to ask if anything was wrong with me. My doctor looked at my symptoms and realized that I was severely low on iron, even though I didn't feel fatigued like most people with iron deficiency anemia.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of low iron deficiency can be varied and are often overlooked. Iron deficiency is common but is often not diagnosed. The symptoms of low iron are weakness, fainting, dizziness, and pale skin. If you have any of these symptoms, it might be time to get tested. Tests for iron levels include a blood test or a ferritin test. 

Some symptoms may be: 

• Fatigue or lack of energy, also known as lethargy, is a common symptom of low iron 

• Lack of appetite; anorexia; increased heart rate; insomnia; dizziness 

• Pale skin; decreased ability to sense pain, such as when you cut your finger

• Loss in hair thickness or the rate at which your hair grows.

• Headache, dizziness, or lightheadedness

• Constantly cold hands and feet

• Inflammation or soreness of the tongue.

• Extreme nail breakage

• Unexplained cravings for substances with no nutritional value, such as dirt, starch, or ice

Note: It should be mentioned that a lack of appetite is a typical sign in children and infants with iron deficiency anemia.

To test your hemoglobin levels, purchase home testing kits from Lab Me and take the blood test yourself.

 Lab MMe'siron panel tests your hemoglobin and iron levels and is available to people aged 18 and older. 

In case of iron deficiency anemia, your body has less than 120g/L Hb. Hemoglobin is a type of protein that can be found inside red blood cells (RBCs). 

It helps these cells carry oxygen throughout your body. A hemoglobin test measures the amount of hemoglobin per milliliter (ml) of blood. 

However, a low below-leveln'tnecessarily indicate that you have low iron — it could mean you have an increased destruction rate of red blood cells caused by disease or another condition known as hemorrhage.

What are some causes of low levels?

Iron deficiency is common but is often not diagnosed. The symptoms of low iron are weakness, fainting, dizziness, and pale skin. If you have any of these symptoms, it might be time to get tested. Tests for iron levels include a blood test or a ferritin test. 

What causes your iron to be low?

 If you are yyou'reanemic, it is not producing enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to all your bbody'stissues and organs. 

While any injury or illness can trigger a short-term case of anemia, sometimes it can be related to prolonged issues such as chronic blood loss. Common causes include heavy periods, stomach ulcers, colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and even heavy use of ibuprofen or aspirin. 

In some cases, low iron is caused by dietary choices that ddon'tprovide enough iron, such as vegans who lack dietary supplements. For these people and others with low iron levels, taking over-the-counter supplements may help reverse anemia symptoms.

When should you be concerned?

What are normal iron levels? 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 bbody'stissues. As the name implies, iron deficiency anemia is due to insufficient iron. 

The first thing to do when you suspect you have low iron levels is to have a test done. When should you be concerned? If your hemoglobin and hematocrit levels are below normal or significantly lower than they were just a few months ago, then talk with your doctor about getting tested for iron deficiency anemia. 

Your doctor will want to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms before coming up with a diagnosis of low iron levels.

When you take a test at Lab Me looking at your A1C, you are indirectly looking at iron levels.

Our observation showed that conditions such as iron deficiency anemia could spuriously elevate A1C levels; consequently, care should be taken before altering any treatment regimen. Our observation also showed significantly higher A1C levels in anemic patients with FPG between 100-126 mg/dl.

What can you do to manage low iron levels?

If you suspect that your iron levels are low, several supplements can help. Ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, and ferrous gluconate are all options that can be taken as a supplement or included in a daily multivitamin. 

Other dietary changes include more of the following: lean red meat, beans, and peas, green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach), eggs, oysters, sardines, nuts, and seeds. 

When taken regularly for about three months, these dietary changes will usually increase red blood cells called erythrocytes by about 50%.

I recommend talking to your doctor about taking a periodic blood test to check on the progress of this treatment. 

Iron deficiency anemia is correlated with higher A1C levels, especially in women with controlled diabetes and those with FPGAs between 100-126 mg/dl. The presence of iron deficiency anemia should be considered before modifying diabetic treatment regimens.

Start testing your HBA1C at Lab Me.

Iron
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