Fatigue and Iron Deficiency Anaemia

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Fatigue and Iron Deficiency Anaemia

One of the most common symptoms which people often seek medical care for is fatigue. Fatigue is a non-specific symptom which can be caused by many medical conditions, lifestyle related factors and behaviours or even dietary practices (vegetarianism/ vegan).



When experiencing fatigue, an individual may self-diagnose themselves with iron deficiency anaemia as fatigue is a well-known symptom of iron deficiency.

These other symptoms include:

  • Poor muscle function
  • Leg pain or discomfort
  • Growth abnormalities in children
  • Poor concentration
  • Epithelial disorders
  • Reduced immunity
  • Finger nails which are thin and flat with cuplike depressions (spoon-shaped nails)
  • Pale skin
  • Lower inner eyelids are pale
  • Glossitis (waxy glistening appearance of the tongue)

Individuals who are at a higher risk for iron deficiency anaemia include:

  • Infants and young children
  • Adolescent girls (especially pregnant adolescent girls)
  • Pregnant women
  • People following carbohydrate rich diets which lack protein sources
  • People following vegetarian diets which are incomplete in terms of protein intake
  • Vegans
  • Female athletes (especially endurance athletes)
  • Elderly

If you fall within the following ‘at risk populations’ and exhibit the above signs and symptoms it is imperative that you seek medical attention as only laboratory tests can confirm a diagnosis of iron deficiency anaemia.

REMEMBER: as fatigue is a non-specific symptom of iron deficiency anaemia it is important to note that just because you are tired, doesn’t mean that you have a medical condition therefore beware of self-diagnosis via the internet, rather seek proper health care.