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
- Female athletes (especially endurance athletes)
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.