Iron is a mineral found in the blood and is essential to human life and physiology. Iron supports oxygen delivery to cells and regulates cell growth and differentiation. People who fail to consume enough iron can become anemic and experience fatigue and poor immunity. On the other hand, too much iron can be toxic and may even be fatal. Foods with a high content of iron include chicken liver, oysters, beef and clams. The only way to check your iron level is to have a blood test conducted by a medical facility. There are, however, a number of ways to check for anemia at home.
Monitor your energy levels to see if you have become more sluggish. Fatigue can be a sign of too much or too little iron in your blood stream.
Regularly examine your skin tone to see if it has changed. Pale skin may be a sign of red blood cells and can indicate low iron. A bronze skin tone that is not the result of exposure to the sun can be a sign of too much iron.
Check to make certain your fingernails are not becoming brittle and thin. People with anemia due to a lack of iron often have pale nail beds.
Ask a health care provider to monitor your heartbeat to determine if there is any palpitations or other irregularities. These can occur when your heart has to work harder to get oxygen through the body.
Women should note of any changes in her menstrual cycle, as a heavy period can often lead to anemia.
Take note of any lingering sores in the mouth or a burning sensation on the tongue. These are also signs of blood disorders like anemia.
Pay attention to the nutritional info on the food you are eating. Make certain you know whether your diet that is low or high in iron. Women ages 14 to 50 require 15 to 18 mg. of iron a day, while men over 18 typically need only 8 mg. a day.
Make note of any changes in skin pigment and ask a family member or someone who sees you on a regular basis if they notice any changes in your skin tone.
Note a loss of interest in sex, as this can be a sign of too much iron.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, consult a doctor and ask to have a blood test preformed.