Iron deficiency should not be self-diagnosed or treated without clinical testing and the advice of a doctor, according to Mayo Clinic. It is highly advised to seek professional care and have a ferritin test, as taking too much iron can permanently damage the liver and cause other health issues.
While self testing is ill-advised, individuals can monitor themselves for symptoms of iron deficiency and then see a doctor, notes Mayo Clinic. There are multiple signs of anemia, such as extreme fatigue, pale skin and chest pain. Other signs include being short of breath, having cold hands and feet, feeling dizzy or light-headed, having frequent infections, or feeling weak and having brittle nails. Some people crave things like dirt, ice or starch when they are anemic, and restless leg syndrome may also occur. In children and infants, a common sign of iron deficiency is a poor appetite.
Preventing or lowering the risk for iron deficiency is possible, states Mayo Clinic. One way to combat anemia each day is to eat iron-rich foods such as pork, seafood, red meats, dark-green leafy vegetables, beans and fortified cereals. Peas, dried raisins, dried apricots and spinach are also good food choices. Eating foods high in vitamin C helps the body absorb iron.