What are the symptoms of anemia? How are these related to thyroid functions? These questions often follow each other as several studies point out that anemia is one of the early signs of an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. In fact, iron deficiency slows down the process of thyroid hormone production. Find out more about anemic symptoms and how they relate to thyroid function.
What Are the Symptoms of Anemia and How Are They Linked to Hypothyroidism?
1. Abnormal Paleness of the Skin
Healthy blood circulation gives color to the skin. When blood flow is reduced or when levels of red blood cells are low, the skin may appear pale or sallow. Paleness of the skin caused by iron-deficiency anemia appears in the face, palm, and lining of the eyes.
2. Brittle Nails
Brittle nails may mean inadequate consumption of iron-rich foods. They may also be signs of the body’s inability to properly absorb iron.
Having brittle nails may also be an early symptom of hypothyroidism. It may turn nails unhealthy and brittle. An underactive thyroid causes changes in the nails, skin, and hair.
3. Cold Hands and Feet
A persistent feeling of coldness in the hands and feet may be a sign of problems with nerves or blood circulation. If accompanied by color changes, it may be a sign of iron-deficiency anemia or an underactive thyroid.
4. Dizziness or Lightheadedness
Iron deficiency decreases the body’s capacity to carry oxygen throughout the body. When there is a shortage of oxygen in the brain and blood vessels, lightheaded may result. Low levels of oxygen in the heart muscle and thyroid dysfunction may also cause frequent headaches and dizziness.
5. Extreme Fatigue
Anemia impedes the transportation of oxygen to the blood. This results in unexplained lack of energy and extreme fatigue. When there is less oxygen in the body, energy levels also dip. Low levels of thyroid hormones also decrease the body’s capacity to produce energy resulting in fatigue.
6. Hair Loss
Oxygen aids in the growth and repair of the body’s cells including the cells of the hair follicles. Low levels of oxygen and insufficient thyroid hormones in the body may cause hair to fall out. Thyroid dysfunction can also make hair coarse and dry, and even thin out the eyebrows.
7. Inflammation of the Tongue
Low iron levels may cause inflammation or soreness of the tongue. “Anemia tongue” or glossitis makes the tongue appear slightly swollen and smoothed out.
8. Rapid Heartbeat
When the body lacks healthy red blood cells, the heart has to work harder to pump more blood and distribute oxygen throughout the body. This results in rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and in some cases, chest pain.
9. Unusual Cravings
Having unusual cravings for substances without nutritional value may also be a warning sign of anemia. These substances may include ice, dirt, clay, soil, or paper. Doctors call this condition “pica.” Aside from anemia, it may also be a sign of emotional distress and other psychological conditions.
Learn more about the signs and symptoms of anemia with this video by Howdini:
If you have experienced any of the symptoms of anemia or hypothyroidism, consult with your doctor. Ask about iron deficiency test and the most suitable anemia treatment for you. It is also recommended to get a thyroid checkup as anemia symptoms often go hand in hand with thyroid dysfunction.
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