Red Flags

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The 25 "Red Flags" of Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA)

These are what I like to call the Red Flags or warnings of Iron Deficiency Anemia. They are the symptoms you may experience, from mild to severe, if you are suffering from IDA. You may have any or all of this symptoms due to a lack of oxygen in your blood cells. On a personal note, I have experienced almost every single one of them...and so do many of the women I hear from. The Red Flags are waving to get our attention! Sometime it takes us a while (maybe years) to connect the dots and realize that all of these odd symptoms are related. It's time to stop ignoring them, so read on to see if you recognize yourself...

  1. Extreme fatigue
  2. Weakness
  3. Lack of energy
  4. Headaches
  5. Dizziness
  6. Lightheadedness
  7. Fainting
  8. Rapid heartbeat (Tachycardia)
  9. Irregular heartbeat
  10. Heart palpitations
  11. Chest pain
  12. Shortness of breath (after simple tasks such as climbing stairs, walking short distances, rushing around)
  13. Cold hands and/or feet (low body temperature, unable to get and stay warm)
  14. Pica (an intense craving to chew ice or eat non-food items)
  15. Hair loss
  16. Restless Legs Syndrome / RLS (legs tingling, twitching, moving uncontrollably, especially when you go to bed)
  17. Pale skin and/or pale areas inside of the eyelids, mouth and cheeks (oxygen-rich blood is scarce and is being diverted away from skin to major organs)
  18. Pale and/or sore tongue
  19. Blue sclera (white part of eyes can take on a bluish tint, similar to the look of skim milk)
  20. Brittle, spooned or ridged nails
  21. Whooshing sound or ringing in ears (can hear your heartbeat in your ears)
  22. Irritability
  23. Foggy thinking and/or poor memory
  24. Depression
  25. Loss of interest in things that you normally care about



The content expressed in Anemia Diaries is based on a personal journey and is not meant to serve as medical advice.

25 Red Flags
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Guide to Anemia is an excellent resource for the Iron Deficiency Anemia patient. 

Written by Iron Disorders Institute co-founder and executive director Cheryl Garrison, this book is backed by world-renowned physicians who specialize in the field of iron deficiency and anemia. The book also boasts personal stories, genetics information, and much more. You will find that you refer to it again and again while navigating the management of Iron Deficiency Anemia.

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