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Symptoms

Mild iron deficiency may not cause any symptoms. When iron deficiency has progressed to actual anemia, there can be fatigue, breathlessness, unusually pale skin, and a decreased ability to exercise. People who have had severe iron deficiency for a prolonged period sometimes complain of trouble swallowing or have a sore mouth or tongue. In some cases, there can be unusually brittle fingernails or an abnormal curling and softness of the nails called spooning.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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