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Can Low Iron Cause Migraines

Can Iron Deficiency Give You Migraines

Can Low Iron Cause Headaches?

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Can You Tell If You Are Anemic By Your Eyes

One of the best ways to tell if youre anemic is to look at the mucous membranes of your eyes, also commonly referred to as the water line above your lower lashes. This is a vascular area so if its pale, its a good sign that youre not getting enough red blood cells to other areas of your body either.

Does Iron Deficiency Cause Headaches

“The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook” describes iron deficiency as one of the most frequent mineral deficiencies in the world 2. It leads to anemia, a condition that develops when your body does not produce enough healthy red blood cells to supply your organs adequately with oxygen. Iron deficiency can cause a range of symptoms, including headaches.

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Iron Deficient How To Know The Signs And Symptoms

Wondering if you might be iron deficient? Iron deficiency and anemia can cause a host of problems, so it’s important to know the symptoms.


If you find yourself unusually tired even though youre getting a decent amount of sleep, you could be iron deficient. Iron is used to create hemoglobin, which carries oxygen through your body. When you dont have enough iron, you dont have enough hemoglobin, and thus your body isnt getting the oxygen it needs to function properly.

Shortness of Breath

Similarly, if you find yourself breathing harder than usual after minor exertion or seemingly normal activities like walking, you may not have enough iron. Muscles need oxygen to perform, and if your body isnt transporting oxygen efficiently, its going to think it needs more to get the job done. Be incredibly mindful of this symptom and dont over do it.

Irregular Heartbeat

If you experience an irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations, iron deficiency could be the culprit. When you dont have enough hemoglobin, your heart has to work harder to get oxygen to your tissues. If you havent been diagnosed with iron deficiency or are noticing your irregular heartbeats seem too regular, schedule an appointment to have your doctor run further testing.


Pale Skin and Eyelids

Diagnosing Iron Deficiency

Treatment at IVX Health

How Iron Deficiency Anemia Affects Migraines

Can Low Iron Cause Headaches?

Iron deficiency anemia may cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, sleepiness, dizziness, low energy, anxiety, and depression. When you have less-than-optimal oxygen delivery throughout your body, this can cause generalized physical symptoms.

Iron deficiency anemia has also been linked to migraines, headaches, and an increased predisposition to pain. It isn’t quite clear how these effects occur, but low oxygen delivery to the brain compromises the energy that your brain can use and may exhaust you mentally and physically.

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Data Analysis And Statistical Methods

The chi-square test and Fishers exact test were used to analyze qualitative variables. Students t test for independent samples and the MannWhitney U test were used to compare quantitative variables between two groups . After adjusting for confounding variables, multivariate analysis was performed to identify significant determinants of migraine and TTH. Migraine was selected as the dependent variable, with sex, age, family history of migraine, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and IDA selected as independent variables. Analyses were also performed to examine the association with specific migraine subtypes in females, with the subgroups being pure menstrual migraine or MRM and migraine not associated with menses . These subgroups were selected as dependent variables separately and analyzed with the aforementioned independent variables. Similarly, TTH was selected as the dependent variable, with sex, age, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and IDA selected as independent variables. Independent variables were selected based on demographics and certain background habits . Testing IDA significance among these predictors was assumed to exhibit strong association in our analysis. All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS Statistics for Windows, version 17.0 . P<0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Symptoms Of Anemia To Watch Out For

You may have no symptoms at first, or very mild ones. However, as anemia gets worse some telltale signs become apparent. Here are the most common ones.

  • Youre exhausted and weak

  • The most common symptom of iron-deficiency anemia is fatigue. Without enough oxygen being delivered to your cells you arent able to break down nutrients and make energy. Without energy, you continually feel tired and weak throughout the day and it can be difficult to complete your daily tasks.

  • You have strange cravings for things that arent food

  • People who are anemic may develop a syndrome called;pica, which causes strange cravings for non-food items such as dirt, ice or clay. There are some theories as to why iron deficiency leads to pica, but the true cause is unclear.;Research shows that the cravings seem to go away when patients receive iron supplements.

  • You get headaches or feel dizzy

  • Headaches, dizziness and lightheadedness can all be symptoms of anemia caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. For some people, this may even lead to fainting.

  • Your heartbeat is irregular

  • Heart palpitations, an irregular heartbeat or an increased heart rate can be signs that your body is attempting to compensate for its lack of energy. By circulating blood faster your body is trying to spread around the small amounts of available hemoglobin in order to deliver more oxygen.

  • Youre short of breath

  • You have chest pain

  • Your legs tingle

  • Your skin is pale

  • Your nails are brittle

  • Your hands and feet are always cold

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    Restless Leg Syndrome Can Be A Sign Of Low Iron

    “Restless legs syndrome is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation,” according to the Mayo Clinic. This uncomfortable sensation, which is usually felt within the leg rather than on the skin, can take many forms including creeping, throbbing, aching, itching, or an electric tingle. Symptoms usually happen when at rest particularly when lying down at night and can temporarily be relieved by movement. RLS can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Although the exact cause of RLS is unknown, researchers believe it may be due to an imbalance in the neurotransmitter dopamine.

    Iron deficiency is considered a risk factor for RLS. This makes sense considering;iron is needed to convert the amino acid tyrosine to dopamine. A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Hematology surveyed patients with iron deficiency anemia and found that nearly 24 percent had RLS. That is “nine times higher than the general population,” per the study. Individuals with both anemia and RLS reported less and poorer quality sleep, decreased energy, and increased tiredness. Considering anemia can cause fatigue and low energy all by itself, having RLS is a double whammy.

    Shortness Of Breath/chest Pain:

    SYMPTOMS OF ANEMIA -Common Symptoms of Iron Deficiency, Low Hemoglobin, Low Ferritin Low Iron Levels

    Shortness of breath or chest pain, especially with activity, is another symptom of iron deficiency. Due to the fact that hemoglobin is limited in the red blood cells, the oxygen that is distributed throughout the rest of the body is limited, this way our body tries to compensate and produce more oxygen for our organs to function properly, which results in shortness of breath.

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    Take Iron Supplements If Your Doctor Recommends Them

    You should only take an iron supplement if your healthcare provider confirms that youre iron deficient or are at risk for iron deficiency and cant meet your needs through diet alone.

    If you do take an iron supplement, try drinking orange juice with it to boost iron absorption or using a supplement that includes vitamin C.

    Keep in mind that taking iron supplements may cause some side effects. These include:

    Signs You Might Have An Iron Deficiency

    One of the most common deficiencies in women in the world, a lack of iron can lead to a series of side effects and if untreated, to more serious health complications. Iron is important for producing haemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout your body. Without it, everything suffers, and it could lead to anaemia.

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    Eating Ice And Other Nonfood Items May Mean You Need More Iron In Your Diet

    When your body is severely lacking in a particular nutrient, it may lead you to eat strange things in an attempt to get what it needs. Those with severe iron deficiency anemia may have pica, a condition in which individuals crave and eat nonfood items, according to an article published in the;Journal of Medical Case Reports.;Common examples include ice, clay, dirt, chalk, paint chips, and even cigarette butts.

    Pica isn’t always associated with a nutritional deficiency, but pagophagia seems to be tied particularly closely to iron deficiency with or without anemia . It’s unclear why those low on iron crave ice. It may simply be that the cold ice increases alertness and helps combat the severe fatigue and mouth pain common in anemia. A 2010 study published in BMC Hematology examined 262 non-pregnant iron-deficient patients and found that 118 had pica. Of those, 87.3 percent craved and ate ice.

    Depending on what’s eaten, pica can have potentially serious consequences. Although ice isn’t necessarily dangerous, other items may cause poisoning or introduce harmful bacteria or parasites. Items that can’t be digested can cause constipation and intestinal blockages, which may require surgery.

    Get More Iron In Your Diet

    Headache Low Iron Symptoms Rash Photos Shingles + headache ...

    If you suffer from heavy periods and regularly have headaches at the end of your menstrual cycle, the iron deficiency caused by blood loss could be to blame. When you’re iron deficient, your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, which then causes the brain’s blood vessels to swell and cause pressure and pain. To get more iron in your diet, you can take supplements or eat foods including:

    • red meat

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    Heart Problems Can Point To A Lack Of Iron

    Iron deficiency anemia can have serious, even potentially life-threatening, consequences for your heart. Individuals may experience an irregular or faster-than-normal heartbeat. As the Mayo Clinic explained, “When you’re anemic your heart must pump more blood to make up for the lack of oxygen in the blood.” Over time, untreated anemia can lead to an enlarged heart or heart failure.

    One 2006 paper;published in the;Texas Heart Institute Journal reported that between one-third and two-thirds of patients with severe anemia had enlarged hearts, and the left ventricle was the area of the heart most likely to be affected. Fortunately, the researchers also noted that heart size and function returned to normal within a few weeks of treating the anemia.

    But it’s a two-way street when it comes to iron and the health of your heart. Low iron can cause heart problems, and heart problems may increase the likelihood that an individual will be iron deficient. A study published in 2013 in the American Heart Journal found that iron deficiency was common in people with chronic heart failure and correlated to the severity of their condition. It is also an “independent predictor of worse functional capacity and survival,” per the American College of Cardiology.

    When To See A Doctor

    See your doctor whenever you have a headache that is unusual for you and doesnât feel like a typical headache. Also let your doctor know if you have your first migraine attack or any migraine attacks that differ from your usual ones.

    seek emergency care for CVT

    CVT is a medical emergency that should be evaluated right away. Things to look for include:

    • a particularly severe headache
    • stroke-like symptoms such as facial paralysis or loss of sensation or mobility in an arm or leg
    • vision changes, especially associated with dizziness or vomiting, which can be a sign of brain swelling
    • confusion or loss of consciousness
    • seizures

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    Take In More Magnesium

    Studies from the New York Headache Center have linked menstrual migraines, to magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is a nutrient that, among other things, helps constricting blood vessels relax during a migraine. You can add more magnesium to your diet by taking magnesium supplements or by consuming foods high in the mineral, including:

    • figs

    • chickpeas

    Menstrual Migraine Could Be Caused By Low Iron Levels

    Low Iron and Ferritin Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

    The migraine at the end of the menstrual period could be due to low iron levels in the body, research studies show.

    A considerable percentage of women complain of growing migraine pain during their menstrual period which is marked by changes in hormone levels. One of the reasons could be low iron levels.

    Has it ever happened to you that you did not get any headaches during your menstrual period, but experienced migraineduring the last days of the period? If your answer is yes, then your migraine may be due to low iron levels in your body.

    Iron depletion is associated with symptoms such as fatigue, pale complexion, irregular heartbeat, vertigo, headache, listlessness and numbness in limbs . Anemia is defined as a drop in the number of red cells or levels of hemoglobin. Ferritin plays a key role in preventing anemia. Studies* show anxiety and/or depression, a lack of concentration and reluctance to establish social relationship is more prevalent among children suffering from anemia due to iron depletion . It is also proven that among adults there is a link between ferritin levels in the of blood and depression while there is no anemia.

    So, if you are among those who experience migraine at the end of their menstrual period, you may reduce or even remove the pain by taking the ferritin supplement.

    * Connor J, Menzies S. Relationship of iron to oligodendrocytes and myelination. Glia 1996; 17:89-93.

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    Hair And Skin Damage:

    Hair and skin are considered secondary functions for our body. This is because our body prioritizes the limited oxygen distribution to the most important functions like the organs and tissues. When skin and hair lack iron they become dry and more fragile. A lack protein called ferritin is known to cause these problems because it’s essential for the process of storing and releasing iron to all the parts of the body over time. Low iron stores increase the rate of hair loss, especially in non-menopausal women.

    A Weakened Immune System Can Be A Sign That You’re Low On Iron

    Although vitamin C gets all the attention when it comes to keeping your immune system strong, iron is just as important. Being iron deficient can weaken your immune system, but the relationship between the two is a bit complicated.

    A 2010 paper published in the journal Basic Neurosciences, Genetics and Immunology explained that iron levels in the body are important because both our own immune cells and bacterial cells need iron for growth. The genes and proteins that control iron balance in the body can produce temporary fluctuations in iron in a way that prevents invading bacteria from using it. The authors noted that both iron deficiency and iron overload can disrupt this process, making the body more susceptible to bacterial infections.

    In another paper, published in 2011, researchers demonstrated that chronic inflammatory conditions can lead to low iron levels. This is known as anemia of chronic disease. And unfortunately, this type of anemia doesn’t respond well to oral iron supplements

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    Unusually Pale Complexion And Nails

    The skin is the largest organ in the human body. A healthy complexion has a glow, which is due to the capillaries under the skin that lend a pink touch.

    With anemia, those capillaries lose red blood cells or function inefficiently and dont have the natural pink tint. The skin may even take on a yellowish tone.

    Therefore, pale skin is a common sign of anemia. It can be all over the body or limited to one area, such as the face, gums, or inside the lips or lower eyelids.

    Likewise, fingernails that are all-white, yellowish, or thin may indicate anemia. Other signs can be abnormalities such as upwardly or inwardly curved nails, raised ridges, and brittleness. Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and will likely perform tests.

    Can Low Iron Cause Headaches

    How Low Iron Levels Can Cause Migraines

    by bloodvitality | Apr 23, 2021 | Optimize Pregnancy |

    Can low iron cause headaches? About a year ago, I had a 16-year-old female patient who came to me with intense frontal headaches. She had been experiencing them almost daily for a couple of years. She had been seeing different doctors and looking everywhere for answers. And she had gotten nowhere. She took ibuprofen and Tylenol almost daily if not a couple of times per day depending on what she had to do that day. During all of these visits, nobody had actually drawn her blood and looked at her labs.

    The first thing that comes to mind when a patient complains of a chronic frontal headache, the type right above or between the eyes is iron or b12 deficiency.; So of course I was shocked when in over 3 years after seeing different doctors for these headaches and even after a brain MRI, nobody had actually checked her B12 or Ferritin levels.

    I checked her levels.; And sure enough, her Ferritin was 4. We like to see ferritin at least around 50 and in some cases, 75-120 can be necessary for symptom relief.; Everything else in her blood looked great.; We immediately started her on two Blood Vitality daily and in a matter of about 2 weeks, her headaches were completely gone. Three years of suffering, being told it was her hormones and that she should be on birth control, all of which didnt help.

    Check out this post to find why the right iron matters for digestion.

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