Iron deficiency is incredibly common world wide, affecting approximately 12% of the global population. The numbers are highest in women 18-45yrs, and people living in lower-income countries. In North America 10% of women of child-bearing age are believed to be iron deficient. An astounding 25% of pregnant women are thought to be iron deficient.
Obstetric and gynecologic causes are most common in pre-menopausal women. In addition to blood loss, poor iron intake from restrictive diets can also exacerbate or even lead to iron deficiency. Oral iron supplements can be difficult to absorb, and constipating to many people.
Iron deficiency can cause several different symptoms that vary depending on how low your iron level is and how depleted your iron stores are.
The most common initial symptoms of iron deficiency are:
- Chronic fatigue
- Trouble concentrating
- Irritability and mood swings
Iron deficiency also causes:
- Pale skin
- Feeling cold when others don’t
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Ice cravings
- Restless legs
- Exercise intolerance
(Download and utilize to asses likelihood of iron deficiency)
If you (or your child) identify with any of the specified risk groups and/or are experiencing three or more of the symptoms listed in the Symptoms Checker, it is highly recommended to speak with your doctor regarding the possibility of being iron deficient. Blood tests can easily be ordered to assess deficiencies or adequate iron levels.
The most sensitive test for iron deficiency is a low serum ferritin. A low ferritin is the first indicator of dropping iron and should be the initial test of choice for physicians suspecting iron deficiency in most of their patients. Other iron tests include hemoglobin, transferrin saturation and TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity).
Through Mainline Wellness, we offer safe and efficient iron infusions for those who are iron deficient. We require a completed referral form from your health care provider (see link below). The iron infusions are overseen and supervised by Emergency Physician, Dr. Adam Davidson.