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Old 03-05-2004, 06:24 AM   #1
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wideawakeinaz HB User
Iron vs. B12 anemia?

What is the difference between needing iron and needing B12? What exactly is B12? What are the symptons of both iron anemia and B12 anemia?

My doctor put me on iron in october, but is unhappy with the results and said i'm also showing signs of B12 anemia, so she took me off iron and put me on B12--500MG a day. When I asked her, what the difference was, all she told me was, they are both anemia, but for different reasons. Gee, thanks Dr for the great answer! (yes, i don't care for my doctor, trying to find a new one with my HMO).

so, what are the signs of needing iron and what are the signs of needing B12?

my hemoglobin level in october was 8.4 and in january, only rose to 8.9. she said, for me to be considered normal, i need to be closer to the 12 range.

anyways, i just hope someone can help me. i'm 30 years old, female, and i know my mom was anemic as well. but before she died, i never asked her any of these questions, because i didn't know i would be anemic.

Does anemia last forever? will i be forever anemic or will i go back to normal once my levels are up?

thanks!
Charlene

 
Old 03-05-2004, 08:53 AM   #2
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wideawakeinaz
What is the difference between needing iron and needing B12? What exactly is B12? What are the symptons of both iron anemia and B12 anemia?

My doctor put me on iron in october, but is unhappy with the results and said i'm also showing signs of B12 anemia, so she took me off iron and put me on B12--500MG a day. When I asked her, what the difference was, all she told me was, they are both anemia, but for different reasons. Gee, thanks Dr for the great answer! (yes, i don't care for my doctor, trying to find a new one with my HMO).

so, what are the signs of needing iron and what are the signs of needing B12?

my hemoglobin level in october was 8.4 and in january, only rose to 8.9. she said, for me to be considered normal, i need to be closer to the 12 range.

anyways, i just hope someone can help me. i'm 30 years old, female, and i know my mom was anemic as well. but before she died, i never asked her any of these questions, because i didn't know i would be anemic.

Does anemia last forever? will i be forever anemic or will i go back to normal once my levels are up?

thanks!
Charlene
good question! I am anemic as well in b12. I am curious to see wh at your responses are, sorry I couln't help.
Jodi

 
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Old 03-05-2004, 02:11 PM   #3
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

From what I've read....a B12 anemia is somewhat more severe...as anemia is the 'final' symptom. And there's generally a bunch of other symptoms that accompany it.

Back in feb 2002 I had some major health problems; it started with a numb patch on my right wrist they put me through the wringer doing EEGs, MRI's...and other tests trying to figure out what was going on (they actually were under the impression I had developed MS) Anyway this went on, the numb patch increased to where it was from half way up my thumb (to the knuckle)...past my wrist bone and up my arm about six inches.

Yeah...NOT fun

they had me on ALL kinds of drugs some of which litterally made me crazy...course six months later we saw a tv report on how the pharmacitical companys were paying doctors to prescribe it to patients who really shouldn't be on it. ANYWAY lol this whole episode ended with a severe case of anemia, which was june 2002

Got that taken care of and by then I had officially given up on my arm....to me it was forever just gonna be numb....well....I'd say around the year mark. I Finally got the majority of my feeling back....gradually....so I guess the improvement started in Nov. and by Feb 2003 I had 90% of my feeling back.

Now here it is March 2004 and I've given up on any further improvement....It's up to I'd say 95% and it tingles when I rub it...but hey better than no feeling right?

Anyway I had done a B12 search when I first came here because I read something about it....and it seemed to me the sympotms I had were pretty close to it (I didn't necessarily name them all).....

But yeah do a search you'll get lots of hits.

 
Old 03-05-2004, 04:23 PM   #4
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

Pernicious Anemia is caused from no intinsic factor in the stomach which helps produce B-12.I have this,& will be on B-12 inj.the rest of my life,which to me is no biggie.Yes,it can be dangerous if you don't take care of yourself.Just because you feel better is no reason to go off the B-12........You'll just be ill again ..........

Last edited by SnowyLynne63; 03-05-2004 at 04:24 PM.

 
Old 03-05-2004, 07:03 PM   #5
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

Pernicious anemia in latin means "violent death" as it once was before the invention of the B12 injectable. My grandmother died of PA as it was before the injection was introduced. I was diagnosed 7 or so years ago at level 96 but already had neurological problems some of which still exist. My level falls fast so the neurologist is always upping the frequency and amount. I give my own injections or my hubby does. Having no intrinsic factor is a lifetime of injections until someone can produce a pill that will bypass the stomach. If you are just low in b12 taking supplements will help alot.

 
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Old 03-05-2004, 07:23 PM   #6
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

I too have the Neoropathy from the Pernicous Anemia,as I had it for years before being diagnosed.........

 
Old 03-06-2004, 05:17 PM   #7
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wideawakeinaz
What is the difference between needing iron and needing B12? What exactly is B12? What are the symptons of both iron anemia and B12 anemia?

My doctor put me on iron in october, but is unhappy with the results and said i'm also showing signs of B12 anemia, so she took me off iron and put me on B12--500MG a day. When I asked her, what the difference was, all she told me was, they are both anemia, but for different reasons. Gee, thanks Dr for the great answer! (yes, i don't care for my doctor, trying to find a new one with my HMO).


so, what are the signs of needing iron and what are the signs of needing B12?

my hemoglobin level in october was 8.4 and in january, only rose to 8.9. she said, for me to be considered normal, i need to be closer to the 12 range.

anyways, i just hope someone can help me. i'm 30 years old, female, and i know my mom was anemic as well. but before she died, i never asked her any of these questions, because i didn't know i would be anemic.

Does anemia last forever? will i be forever anemic or will i go back to normal once my levels are up?

thanks!
Charlene
To Answer your question about the differences between iron deficiecy anemia and B-12 anemia: There is really no difference in the symptoms which is what your doctor was trying to tell you. However, the reasons are more complicated as to what makes each one. Hemolytic anemia is caused by the red blood cells being destroyed sooner than they are supposed to be and putting too much stress on your bone marrow to make new cells. This results in the blood cells being smaller and carrying less oxygen to your tissues, The major organs need a lot of blood to function properly and therefore a lot is drawn away from the skin causing paleness. The liver stops processing the way it is supposed to in order to conserve and you may become jaundiced. In Pernicious anemia, the intrinsic factor is the main culprit usually. The body is unable to absorb or store the B-12 and it is flushed out of the system as fast as it comes in by either vitamins in food or by vitamin supplements. This too results in the body conserving to protect major organs and the blood cells will be too large and not have a lot of suface area too carry oxygen. If this condition continues for a long time, the heart begins to fail, the kidneys eventually will become over worked and then will begin to fail. Neuropathy will occur. At first it may appears as burning stabbing sensations and then eventually numbness in extremities, the patient may begin to exhibit symptoms of psychosis or irrational thinking, brain is being slowly starved of oxygen. Because all of the body is being effected systemically, weightloss or weight gain can occur, and of course the craving for non nutritious items such as starch, dirt, paper etc. All of these symptoms can occur with either disorder. The scariest symptom of all though is that with the loss of B-12 you can run a fever and your blood work can resemble the blood work of some one who has leukemia or other blood cancers especially if a thorough evaluation and good diagnosis is not achieved at the beginning. In fact I have known of people who were suspected to have cancers of the blood and the doctor began injections of B-12 without testing and it turned out to correct the blood disorders thereby saving the patient from chemo and radiation to cure a cancer that did not exist!!!.

 
Old 03-07-2004, 06:17 PM   #8
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

Excellent information!

There are 2 tests for determining B-12 deficiency. There is the regular one and also one called a methamalonic acid test. Many Dr's don't like to do the MA test because it is real expensive. It generally runs around $500 to have it done. However if you have absorbsion problems, have had a gastric bypass, intestinal problems, or gallbladder problems... sometimes it is worth it to have it done to rule out B-12 defiency if that is a possibility.

I have absorption issues due to a gastric bypass and have pernicious anemia... I also have some of the more devastating issues that can arise from being deficient for so long.

You can really get into some issues with neurological problems. Balance, walking, mental issues, foot drop, etc. Some of them can get rather serious.

I have more information I will dig out and post. Most of it is my own research that I have done... no I am not a medical professional, just someone who is proactive in my own care.
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Old 03-08-2004, 01:25 PM   #9
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

I hope you guys can help me! I have had anemia off/on most of my life. However, a couple months ago I started feeling really bad. My regular dr. referred me to a hematologist, who did bloodwork and sent me a copy saying I was iron deficient. I don't have the tests before me, but my IBC was normal, my ferritin level was 4, and hemoglobin was either 9 or 10.

One question I have, is did the hemotologist rule out PA based on the IBC?

Thanks so much.

 
Old 03-08-2004, 04:55 PM   #10
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nehemia
I hope you guys can help me! I have had anemia off/on most of my life. However, a couple months ago I started feeling really bad. My regular dr. referred me to a hematologist, who did bloodwork and sent me a copy saying I was iron deficient. I don't have the tests before me, but my IBC was normal, my ferritin level was 4, and hemoglobin was either 9 or 10.

One question I have, is did the hemotologist rule out PA based on the IBC?

Thanks so much.
No only a test for B-12 deficiency rules it out. However indicators for the possibility of PA are the results of the MCV , MCHC, and RDW: MCV(Mean corpuscularVolume) RDW: (Red cell Distribution Width) MCHC( Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration) These terms mean Average number of red blood cells in a drop of blood, how far apart the cells are in the blood(crowded together or very wide away from each other) and Average amount of actual iron available inside each blood cell.

 
Old 03-08-2004, 05:55 PM   #11
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marimac
No only a test for B-12 deficiency rules it out. However indicators for the possibility of PA are the results of the MCV , MCHC, and RDW: MCV(Mean corpuscularVolume) RDW: (Red cell Distribution Width) MCHC( Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration) These terms mean Average number of red blood cells in a drop of blood, how far apart the cells are in the blood(crowded together or very wide away from each other) and Average amount of actual iron available inside each blood cell.
Thanks for your reply. He faxed the bloodwork, and some of it is illegible. I can read the numbers that are flagged, however, I don't know what they stand for! He probably did check the MCV, etc...wouldn't you think?

He did write the following, " if pt. is using iron, it is not sufficient or not being absorbed." What do you make of that, provided that he did test the MCV, etc...? I just don't know what my next step should be. I am taking almost 1000 mg. iron daily and have been for one month. I have felt weak, dizzy, shaky, and nauseous. It is driving me crazy, but it sounds like how most people feel who post here!

Meant to add that the iron saturation level is 6. What does that mean...is it basically the same thing as the IBC?

Thanks, Nehemia

Last edited by Nehemia; 03-08-2004 at 05:57 PM.

 
Old 03-08-2004, 06:07 PM   #12
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nehemia
Thanks for your reply. He faxed the bloodwork, and some of it is illegible. I can read the numbers that are flagged, however, I don't know what they stand for! He probably did check the MCV, etc...wouldn't you think?

He did write the following, " if pt. is using iron, it is not sufficient or not being absorbed." What do you make of that, provided that he did test the MCV, etc...? I just don't know what my next step should be. I am taking almost 1000 mg. iron daily and have been for one month. I have felt weak, dizzy, shaky, and nauseous. It is driving me crazy, but it sounds like how most people feel who post here!

Meant to add that the iron saturation level is 6. What does that mean...is it basically the same thing as the IBC?

Thanks, Nehemia
IBC stands for Iron Binding Capacity. That is the ability of the iron to be attached to the cell and be transported to where it should go. Generally, the Iron binding capacity is increased in proportion to the anemia. The higher the binding rate the lower the iron levels are. The saturation percent is how much iron is being absorbed into the cell for transport. The dangerous thing about taking a lot of iron is that it can be stored around the heart, liver, spleen kidneys and other places that it should not be at all, It can also be toxic to the system if it is not being utlized properly by the body. It can cause diabetes to occur in people over 40.

If the doctor did a complete blood count he/she did get a MCV number as a part of the test. Again iron supplements are not wonderful. The side effects are not fun and if you need iron, you have to weigh the side effects of taking the iron against the side effects of not taking it...

 
Old 03-08-2004, 07:41 PM   #13
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marimac
IBC stands for Iron Binding Capacity. That is the ability of the iron to be attached to the cell and be transported to where it should go. Generally, the Iron binding capacity is increased in proportion to the anemia. The higher the binding rate the lower the iron levels are. The saturation percent is how much iron is being absorbed into the cell for transport. The dangerous thing about taking a lot of iron is that it can be stored around the heart, liver, spleen kidneys and other places that it should not be at all, It can also be toxic to the system if it is not being utlized properly by the body. It can cause diabetes to occur in people over 40.

If the doctor did a complete blood count he/she did get a MCV number as a part of the test. Again iron supplements are not wonderful. The side effects are not fun and if you need iron, you have to weigh the side effects of taking the iron against the side effects of not taking it...
I am not really having any side effects from the iron--I don't think. I believe the dizziness, weakness, etc...to be from the anemia, or at least from what I have read that is what I have been led to believe.

What kinds of questions do you think I need to ask the dr. based on what I have shared with you? Should I ask him about testing for PA, or anything else? I am trying to educate myself and have read lots on the internet, but it's not like talking one on one and asking specific questions. I am a 46 yr. old female, have a multinodular goiter/hypothyroidism and take Synthroid (have for 23 yrs). Other than that, I consider myself to be healthy, although I've felt like heck for a month now.

Thanks so much. Nehemia

 
Old 03-08-2004, 08:20 PM   #14
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nehemia
I am not really having any side effects from the iron--I don't think. I believe the dizziness, weakness, etc...to be from the anemia, or at least from what I have read that is what I have been led to believe.

What kinds of questions do you think I need to ask the dr. based on what I have shared with you? Should I ask him about testing for PA, or anything else? I am trying to educate myself and have read lots on the internet, but it's not like talking one on one and asking specific questions. I am a 46 yr. old female, have a multinodular goiter/hypothyroidism and take Synthroid (have for 23 yrs). Other than that, I consider myself to be healthy, although I've felt like heck for a month now.

Thanks so much. Nehemia
If you are still getting your period, you need to have him evaluate whether or not that is the cause of your low blood counts or anemia.The thyroid test should be evaluated more extensively in case it is the thyroid medication that is not exactly the right dose. Also check to make sure the medication is as potent as it claims it is. With industry trying to make a buck, there have been some bogus precriptions out there where the quality of the medication has been inconsistent. As for the iron problems, have the doctor to evaluate the type of iron you are taking as to whether is the right kind for you. There are many forms of iron on the market. Some people can not utilize one and is ok with another kind. The only way the doctor will know that your B-12 or folate are too low is to test it.

 
Old 03-09-2004, 12:28 PM   #15
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Re: Iron vs. B12 anemia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marimac
If you are still getting your period, you need to have him evaluate whether or not that is the cause of your low blood counts or anemia.The thyroid test should be evaluated more extensively in case it is the thyroid medication that is not exactly the right dose. Also check to make sure the medication is as potent as it claims it is. With industry trying to make a buck, there have been some bogus precriptions out there where the quality of the medication has been inconsistent. As for the iron problems, have the doctor to evaluate the type of iron you are taking as to whether is the right kind for you. There are many forms of iron on the market. Some people can not utilize one and is ok with another kind. The only way the doctor will know that your B-12 or folate are too low is to test it.
I really think my low iron is due to my period difficulties. A year ago, I hemorrhaged, was put in the hospital due to dehydration and lost three units of blood. I don't think my blood has ever fully recovered from that episode, plus I have had some heavy periods since then.

I will ask the dr. if he checked my B-12/folate and if not, will request that he do so. Anything else that I should ask him to do?

I appreciate all your help. You are very knowledgeable.

 
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