Iron Deficiency: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Iron deficiency is a decreased amount of iron in the body. Iron deficiency is a common nutritional problem and is a major cause of anemia (a reduction in red blood cell count).

Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency are typically those of anemia. Associated signs and symptoms include feeling tired, weakness, fast heart rate, shortness of breath, inflammation of the tongue, problems maintaining body temperature, and slow development during childhood. Iron deficiency anemia can also cause a decrease in function of the immune system.

Causes of iron deficiency

A number of different conditions can cause iron deficiency. Iron deficiency may be due either to increased need for iron by the body or a decreased absorption or amount of iron taken in.

Other iron deficiency symptoms and signs

  • Decreased Immune Function
  • Difficulty Maintaining Body Temperature
  • Fast Heart Rate
  • Inflammation of the Tongue
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Slow Development During Childhood
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.