There are many possible signs that you could be iron deficient, and some are similar to the symptoms of your heart failure, such as reduced physical function, impaired wellbeing and decreased quality of life.1–3

Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • Looking pale4
  • Shortness of breath and a racing heart26
  • Sore tongue or dry mouth6,7
  • Cracks at the corners of your mouth8
  • Mouth ulcers9
  • Cold intolerance or cold hands and feet10
  • Craving to eat non-food items (pica/ pagophagia)11,12
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)13,14
  • Hair loss15
  • Brittle16 or spoon-shaped nails16
  • Headache17
  • Increased susceptibility to infections18
  • Dizziness,19 irritability20 and loss of concentration21


Use our Symptom Browser to understand what each of these symptoms involves.

Fatigue is also one of the main symptoms of iron deficiency. Fatigue is a more extreme version of tiredness, that some people may call exhaustion. If you are experiencing fatigue, you may feel physically and mentally exhausted and lack energy for a number of days each week, even if you have not been doing any particularly tiring physical activities.22 You may be too exhausted to complete normal daily tasks such as getting dressed or going shopping, and you may often feel too tired to spend time with friends or family.

To check if you are suffering from fatigue you can use our Fatigue Survey.

Fatigue, shortness of breath and a racing heart3 are symptoms of both chronic heart failure and iron deficiency. It is therefore important that you discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor to find out what is causing your symptoms and what the best way to treat them might be. Tips on how to get the most out of your time with your doctor can be found at Talk to your Doctor.

Treating any iron deficiency you may have could improve your day-to-day quality of life and give you the energy you need to get out and about – you don’t need to feel tired all the time. For more information on how iron deficiency is treated click on Treatment Options.