A typical symptom of iron deficiency with or without anaemia – and the most common reason for seeking medical care – is fatigue, which can have a negative effect on the ability to perform daily activities and functions1. Other symptoms are dizziness, balance disturbances, headache, mild shortness of breath, abnormal heartbeat, mild depression and irritation, decreased cognitive performance affecting concentration, memory and learning, affected vision, and feeling cold.
Abnormal eating behaviour, called pica, where unusual substances such as clay, laundry starch or ice are ingested, can also be a sign of iron deficiency with or without anaemia.
These symptoms may arise not only from reduced oxygen supply to body systems when iron deficiency has led to anaemia, but also from vital processes being compromised by the iron deficiency itself, such as impaired energy generation in cells1.
1. Haas JD et al. J Nutr. 2001;131(2S-2):676S-688S; discussion 688S-690S