Anemia is a common illness, but it’s also very debilitating. Many suffer in silence without realizing their seemingly common symptoms are due to anemia. If you’re experiencing any of the following, it might be time to speak to a doctor.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome, or RLS, is a common complaint from those who are dealing with anemia. It causes a strong desire to move your legs and typically occurs at night. If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and unable to sleep because of your active legs, you may be anemic.
Pica (Or Craving Ice, Dirt, or Chalk)
This craving may give you the compulsion to eat non-food items, but people usually opt to eat ice. Other strange cravings may be laundry detergent, clay, or baking soda. There is no explanation for why anemic individuals tend to have pica, but as odd as it is, this is a common side effect that can be managed with the help of a medical professional.
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If you’re noticing your hair is shedding more than normal, iron-deficiency anemia could be to blame. Your body requires oxygen (which requires iron), and sadly hair isn’t considered vitally important. Therefore, hair loss is a good sign you’ll want to speak with your primary care physician.
Being Paler Than Normal
If you notice your skin not looking its best, you may be anemic. The shortage of red blood cells and oxygen in your body can really impact your complexion. You may also find your gums and nail beds are pale. Though being pale is a symptom of many illnesses, anemia is one of the most common causes.
Arrhythmia is a condition that causes an unsteady heart rhythm. This happens when your heart works harder to circulate blood. Because anemia has a direct impact on your blood and oxygen levels, your heart can be directly affected. Without treatment, this can develop into more life-threatening conditions such as heart failure. In fact, according to the National Library of Medicine, iron-deficiency and heart failure are intricately linked. Getting the anemia treated can prevent this serious condition, so it’s important to speak with your doctor if you suspect you have the illness.
Depression and Anxiety
Not even your mental health is spared from anemia. Because symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, lack of energy, fatigue, racing heartbeat, and restlessness are so closely linked to depression and anxiety, they can sometimes be mistaken for these mental health concerns. Severe progressions of the illness can cause these symptoms. Underlying chronic illnesses may be the actual cause of an anxiety or depression diagnosis, especially since anemia is usually a symptom of something else. It’s best to have a close relationship with your therapist and general health practitioner so that all avenues can be explored.
Although iron-deficiency anemia is a common illness, it doesn’t make it easy to deal with. When nothing else can explain your strange symptoms, it could be to blame. Take charge of your health by getting evaluated if you notice any of these signs of anemia.