How to know if hemoglobin is low?

Symptoms and Signs of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Why to check for Iron Deficiency? 

If you want to find out if you have iron deficiency or low hemoglobin, you can do it in few minutes at home without using any extra equipment. If you are a vegetarian or vegan it is even more important to do so. If you don’t check for it, you may never know you have low haemoglobin. 

How to check for signs of iron deficiency?

  • The first thing to do is stand in front of the mirror, pull your lower eyelids normally it should look bright red. If you see any painless like you see in the picture this may indicate iron deficiency.  
Sheth TN, Choudhry NK, Bowes M, Detsky AS. The relation of conjunctival pallor to the presence of anemia. J Gen Intern Med. 1997;12(2):102-106.
  • Next thing is, stand in front of the mirror and smile. Look at your gums. The gums should normally be bright red and should not be pale. 
  • The next thing is extend your hands and fingers and look at the palmar crease. Normally there are two palmar creases. The palmar crease should look bright red and if you see any paleness again it indicates iron deficiency.
  • Next thing is to look at the nails. The nails have a normal shape. If they look   Spoon shaped, also known as spoon shaped nails, this may indicate severe underlying Iron deficiency.
Moiz B. Spoon nails: still seen in today’s world. Clin Case Rep. 2018 Jan 31;6(3):547-548. doi: 10.1002/ccr3.1404. PMID: 29531740; PMCID: PMC5838265.
  • Look in the mirror and put your tongue out. If the tongue is swollen, inflamed with red spots this may indicate iron deficiency. If it is severe you may also have pain during speaking, chewing and also tenderness, which is pain on the young’s on touch. 
Lu SY. Perception of iron deficiency from oral mucosa alterations that show a high prevalence of Candida infection. J Formos Med Assoc. 2016 Aug;115(8):619-27. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2016.03.011. Epub 2016 Apr 28. PMID: 27133388.

What are the symptoms of iron deficiency? 

Think about your day. Do you feel excessively fatigued? Do you have mood swings? Do you have difficulty in concentrating on work? All this may also indicate underlying iron deficiency. Some people also have symptoms like irritability. There may be excessive breaking of the nails. Some people with migraine may also complain that their migraine headache may have gotten worse recently. 

The heartbeat can get fast and they can feel their own heartbeat.

What are the symptoms of iron deficiency in children? 

If you have a child whom you’re worried about, you may see additional things like they drink a lot of whole milk and full fat milk and they have a poor oral intake. They may have unusual eating habits like snacking on ice, paper, rock, clay and this is known as pica. 

What are iron rich foods?

If you have any of the things that I just mentioned it is time to get your blood checked for low hemoglobin because this is easily treatable. In the meanwhile you can consume more iron rich foods like taking beans, green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, tofu, chickpeas or hummus, dried fruits, nuts, brown rice and fortified foods.

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