Iron Deficiency Anemia Symptoms

Iron Deficiency Anemia Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia?

In general, some of the symptoms associated with iron deficiency anemia include:1,2,3,4

  • Pale skin
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Trouble with cognitive and motor abilities and lower performance at work or school
  • Difficulty maintaining body temperature
  • Difficulty breathing, or the feeling of being able to breathe comfortably only when standing or sitting straight up
  • A higher than normal heart rate when exercising
  • Heart problems such as murmurs or an enlarged heart
  • Lung congestion
  • Fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity
  • Pica (a disorder that can cause people to want to eat non-nutritive substances such as ice, dirt, or clay)

If you're experiencing any of the common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, it's important to talk to your doctor. IDA symptoms can be confused with other health problems and you should never attempt to diagnose or treat yourself without seeing a healthcare professional first.

1 Barton JC. Iron deficiency. In: Rakel RE, Bope ET, eds. Conn’s Current Therapy. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Saunders/Elsevier; 2008:385-389.

2 Cook JD, Reddy MB. Effect of ascorbic acid intake on nonheme-iron absorption from a complete diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;73(1):93-98.

3 Murray-Kolb LE, Beard JL. Iron treatment normalizes cognitive functioning in young women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(3):778-787.

4 Dietary supplement fact sheet: iron. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements Web site. Updated August 24, 2007. Accessed April 20, 2008.