- Weakness, fatigue, or lack of stamina.
- Shortness of breath during exercise.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Pale skin.
- Craving substances that are not food (pica). In particular, a craving for ice can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia.
Other signs may include:
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Brittle fingernails and toenails.
- Cracked lips.
- Smooth, sore tongue.
- Muscle pain during exercise.
- Trouble swallowing.
Babies and small children with iron deficiency anemia may not grow as expected and may have delays in skills such as walking and talking. Children may be irritable and have a short attention span. These problems usually go away when the deficiency is treated. If it is not treated, mental and behavior problems may be permanent.