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Avatar universal

Can low iron cause chest pain?

I am a 23 year old female and have been having chest and left arm pain for a few weeks now. I've been to the Dr for this and they said I have an iron deficiency. I am also feeling winded and short of breath accompanied by a pounding heart beat. Should I be worried, or is this common with low iron?
16 Responses
Avatar universal

Chest pain is a common symptom with iron deficiency anemia but it still isn't a good sign. Are you taking iron supplements now? The chest pain is due to the low oxygen carrying capacity of your red blood cells. Oxygen can't reach your tissues and you feel episodes of pain. The shortness of breath is also due to the fact that there's just not enough oxygen to go around so you might feel tired even on mild exertion and because of the low oxygen, your heart is pumping extra hard to get enough blood to your tissues. I strongly recommend going to your doctor if you're taking iron supplements with no improvement or not taking any at all. Long term iron deficiency can cause a lot of stress on your body. Take care.
1 Comments
Thanks for your reply. I have not begun the iron supplement yet. I have been having heart palpitations, a squeezing feeling on the left side of my chest that goes through my back and jaw pain. The pain is not severe though. Should I be worried?
Avatar universal
You absolutely need to bring your iron up. I needed a blood transfusion because I was so ill.

Take the iron supplement with Vitamin C and avoid dairy, calcium, magnesium, eggs, chocolate, antacids at least 2 hours before and after taking the iron. Those things hinder iron absorption.

If you do not get your levels up you get worse.

You also need to check your Vitamin B12. It can be low since you're anemic. Once your levels rise, your blood results may show normal hemoglobin, but you can still be iron deficient. You need to know what your ferritin levels are. It's where your iron is stored.

Check bloodwork for Vitamin D and magnesium RBC deficiencies as well.

I was low in different things.

Stay hydrated.
You absolutely need to bring your iron up. I needed a blood transfusion because I was so ill.

Take the iron supplement with Vitamin C and avoid dairy, calcium, magnesium, eggs, chocolate, antacids at least 2 hours before and after taking the iron. Those things hinder iron absorption.

If you do not get your levels up you get worse.

You also need to check your Vitamin B12. It can be low since you're anemic. Once your levels rise, your blood results may show normal hemoglobin, but you can still be iron deficient. You need to know what your ferritin levels are. It's where your iron is stored.

Check bloodwork for Vitamin D and magnesium RBC deficiencies as well.

I was low in different things.

Stay hydrated.

Avatar universal
Do you know exactly how low your iron is? Did you get a CBC done because your hemoglobin level would give you a good idea about how severe your symptoms should be. If you're only mildly deficient and you're experiencing these pains, than maybe your anemia is due an underlying problem.

If I were you, I'd purchase iron supplements right away and take them according to your doctor's recommendations . You don't want this to turn into something bigger because this is something easy to fix.

Again, I wouldn't be worried but knowing your CBC results would help.

You're welcome, and I hope you can start taking that iron soon!
Avatar universal
My blood count was normal. The only thing that was abnormal was my ferritin saturation, which was 14%. Is that mild?
Avatar universal
I was trying to reply, and accidentally reported your comment. Sorry about that
Avatar universal
As you stated, your ferritin levels are indeed inadequate and your symptoms are a result of that. But ferritin levels alone aren't enough to determine for sure and I'd still need to know your hemoglobin levels. It's hemoglobin that's carrying your oxygen in your red blood cells, ferritin is just the storage form of iron in your body. When you have low ferritin, it indicates that you don't have enough iron to make hemoglobin.

Also, do you have heavy menstrual bleedings, what is your diet mostly consist of (is there enough meat, enough dark leafy vegetables), and are you at a healthy weight?

And haha it's okay about reporting.
Avatar universal
My hemoglobin level is 13.5. Like I said all of my test results were normal, except for the ferritin saturation, and vitamin D, which was 24 ng/ml. I do have pretty heavy menstrual bleeding. My diet ***** completely. I don't eat enough, and I don't eat healthy enough. I am 5 foot 1 and weigh 120.
Avatar universal
My diet isn't very good. It edited my words for some reason haha
Avatar universal
Hmm, alright low ferritin with normal hemoglobin. I can understand why you're not taking iron supplements because there isn't any indication to take it since your hemoglobin is normal.

Your ferritin levels are probably low due to your cycle. Did you get your blood tests done during or just after menstruating?  

You're a healthy weight, but as for the body pain, I think it's more attributable to your diet/lifestyle than your iron levels. Even if your weight is abnormal, it's still important to get exercise. From experience, stress is also a culprit for random, radiating chest pain. If your life is stressful right now or you're feeling a lot of anxiety, these things are probably the main reasons for why you're physically feeling the way you are. I know things like stress, exercise, and diet sound so generalized and you've probably heard doctors say these three things hundreds of times but the truth is, what you put into your body is what you get out of it. It's not possible to feel good if what you put in isn't good. You should try a lifestyle change for at least a month and I promise you there will be improvements.
Avatar universal
I actually beleieve I was menstruating when he took my blood. As for the chest pain, when I reach across my chest with my left arm it brings on the pain. I also get pain in my jaw then. I'm not getting any shortness of breath on exertion. Do you think it is likely to be heart related?
Avatar universal
No, if it was heart related your doctor would definitely have found out and you'd be experiencing a lot of other symptoms besides pain. Trust me on the diet. You have nothing to worry about. No medicine is going to make it better in the long run. The only medicine is good 'ol fresh, healthy food.  For the time being, take painkillers if things get bad but just work on correcting your diet.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for all your help! Do you have any tips on eating healthy?
Avatar universal
You're welcome, it's my pleasure. As for eating healthy, there are so many ways to go about it. But for what's best for you, only your doctor can customize a healthy diet plan specifically for you because everyone's bodies are different.

But if you're eating out a lot, definitely stop. Even "healthy" fast-food isn't really healthy. From now, on make all your meals at home. This might sound time consuming but it's really not. Go on a grocery shopping spree and buy anything that looks good that also doesnt come in a box or can. It's not about restricting calories, it's just that all our food these days are on the verge of being poisonous to us. I've traveled a lot to developing countries and the health conditions we have here in developed countries  (cancer, depression, heart diseases)  are virtually non-existent there and I think a lot of it is attributable to the hormones, preservatives, and pesticides that's in our food. And then we try to correct our health conditions with vitamins and supplements but a vitamin still doesnt have the same benefits as actually eating an apple.

So the point is, talk with your doctor and eat home-made food, and if you can make that home made food organic, that'd be better for you.
Avatar universal
You have a iron deficiency
Avatar universal
I am now having a nagging jaw pain that won't go away. I'm becoming very worried that I've either already had a heart attack, or that I will have one soon. I also have pain in my left arm and left wrist that comes and goes. I checked my pulse and it was 84 while resting. What should I do
Avatar universal
Dont worry 84 isnt an abnormally high pulse. Mine is sometimes 80 at rest normally. Your pulse probably started getting higher after the jaw pain because of the anxiety.

Does moving your jaw worsen the pain? If you're worried and you believe you're having a heart attack, you should go to the Emergency Room. Also do you have anxiety? Many people confuse anxiety attacks with heart attacks.

If you're still experiencing the pain, it is detrimental that you get yourself to the nearest hospital. Please let me know how you are and if everything is alright. Hope you feel better.
2 Comments
I am still having the jaw pain off and on. And that stabbing/aching pain in left arm. I just am not sure what to do at this point.
The jaw pain doesn't worsen when I move my jaw. I do have anxiety. But this has been pretty constant for the whole week.
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