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Success S alud IRON IT OUT Without adequate iron — essential for the production of hemoglobin, which helps your red blood cells distribute oxygen to your body — anemia can develop. Iron deficiency is one of the most common ailments of our time. The following are signs that your iron count might not be where it needs to be. T E X T F R A N C E S C A C R UZ SLEEPY HALLOW Do you perpetually feel tired, groggy and like your next nap should have happened hours ago? That’s the most common symptom of iron deficiency. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult symptoms to detect. With the busy lifestyles most of us lead, we assume feeling tired is part of our daily existence. Iron deficiency results in less oxygen reaching tissues throughout the body, depriving you of energy you require for proper function. Headaches and becoming easily out of breath are also common signs. If you also feel weak or irritable, there’s a good chance that iron deficiency has something to do with your fatigue, and you should get it checked out ASAP. OFF LOCKS It’s perfectly normal to lose up to 100 hairs on an average day. If you’re losing more than that, it’s possible that it’s due to iron deficiency. This is a potential sign that leads up to anemia. As your body propels into survival mode, the oxygen in your body gets directed toward the maintenance of vital functions, such as the muscles and the heart. As a result, less support goes to other processes such as keeping your hair intact. Don’t go into panic mode. It’s normal to see strands of hair on your pillow, in a comb or brush, or in the shower. It’s when it gets to be a significant amount of hair, and it coincides with all things listed in this article, that you should get a doctor to check to see what’s up. NAILED IT Do your fingernails or toenails break or crack easily? Is your nail bed thin and concave, or do your nails appear to have raised ridges? If so, it’s likely that you have an iron deficiency problem. Pale and whitish nail beds often result from a low red blood cell count — a clear sign of complications. Thin or frail nails are also a way of detecting early signs of a low iron count. But don’t be overly alarmed. Adequate nutrition and vitamin supplements can turn this around fairly quickly. All you have to do is learn to observe your body, detect red flags and address your concerns with your primary physician. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel once the problem is treated. 38