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Old 01-11-2008, 08:08 AM   #1
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Low ferritin, normal cbc??

My ferritin level has been tested and is at 5. My TIBC has also tested high, though I don't remember the number. My cbc, including hemoglobin, came back normal. I am feeling the symptoms of anemia, cold (especially fingers and feet), lightheadedness, etc. I have very heavy periods, so the doctor does want me to see an ob/gyn and probably have a hysterectomy. But, is is normal to have such low ferritin levels and still have normal complete blood count? Since the hemoglobin is normal, does that mean I'm not anemic? Should I be feeling the symptoms?

Thanks!

Last edited by trmitche; 01-11-2008 at 08:19 AM. Reason: forgot to mention TIBC

 
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:27 AM   #2
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Re: Low ferritin, normal cbc??

I'd love to see what your CBC numbers are.

But, to answer your question--yes, you can have a very low ferritin and no anemia. I would bet you, though, that this situation won't last long. The longer your ferritin stays at 5, your CBC will continue to head downward as you body attempts to use what little iron you have left.

Many years ago, during routine physicals, my hemoglobin was always around 14. Over a few years, we saw the hemogloblin slowly drop but no one was concerned because I was still "normal." Finally, when I was at 11.6 (mildly anemic) *I* had to say "Hey, what the heck is going on." I was then found to have a ferritin of 5. Even when I started iron supplementation and my hemoglobin shot up to 13 very quickly, my ferritin was still at 5.

So, having said all this, your symptoms are due to low ferritin and you are *probably* close to being anemic or will be over the course of the next several months if left untreated.

 
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Old 01-12-2008, 05:35 AM   #3
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Re: Low ferritin, normal cbc??

Quote:
Originally Posted by trmitche View Post
My ferritin level has been tested and is at 5. My TIBC has also tested high, though I don't remember the number. My cbc, including hemoglobin, came back normal. I am feeling the symptoms of anemia, cold (especially fingers and feet), lightheadedness, etc. I have very heavy periods, so the doctor does want me to see an ob/gyn and probably have a hysterectomy. But, is is normal to have such low ferritin levels and still have normal complete blood count? Since the hemoglobin is normal, does that mean I'm not anemic? Should I be feeling the symptoms?

Thanks!
Yes, you can have very low ferritin with normal hgb. I have been going through this for over three years now. This past fall, I had my usual Ferritin, CBC, TIBC and show that my ferritin level had fallen from 49, I then went to IV iron infusion, and 8 weeks later, my level was at 9. Now mind you I had several sinus surgeries during that time. I think I was lossing blood, but not so much to indicate anemia. I had all the symptoms of anemia while my ferritin was dropping. With your levels being so low, you should talk to you doctor about getting IV iron infusion, if only talking pills, it will take you months to get your levels up.
Also, you should have your thyroid, TSH, freeT4, freeT3, TPO (AB) levels checked. All my doctors wanted me to have a hysterectomy, but almost nearing menopause, I am trying to hold off on that. I am hypothyoid and I believe most of my ferritin issures are related to that and maybe some having to do with heavy periods. The periods will end soon, I hope, but at least I get to keep my body parts which I still need even after menopause.
Most doctors, as in my case, will not take much interest in low ferritin unless your hgb is low, but I go to a hematologist who takes levels below 50 should be treated even in light of high or normal hgb.
Is your hair falling out or thinning? That is another sign that you need to get your ferritin higher at least to 70. Hope you find your answers soon, but I would look into everything before a hysterctomy.

 
Old 01-13-2008, 11:20 AM   #4
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Re: Low ferritin, normal cbc??

Do have you thyroid hormones checked too and get a copy of the lab report.

There can be a huge difference between "normal range" and optimal range for thyroid hormones.

Optiamal TSH is low, around 1.0 (though the lab reports and some doctors will call as high as 3.5 or even 5.5 "normal", that is NOT optimal).

Ferritin is iron stores. Low ferritin can make you feel bad & often goes along with un-treated and/or un-diagnoesed hypothyroidism.

Optimal ferritin is between 70 - 90 for women.

Go to the thyroid message board on this site.

My daughter is at UVA, first year. She has met lots of people from northern VA. She loves UVA. We live is South Carolina.
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:22 AM   #5
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Re: Low ferritin, normal cbc??

And I must add...


My ferritin was 15. I started taking an oral slow releae iron supplement.

I slowly felt the difference. About 6 weeks later, I realized that I wasn't having heart palpitations anymore!
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:51 AM   #6
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Re: Low ferritin, normal cbc??

I just found out that my cbc/hemoglobin is normal and my ferritin level is at 15. My already baby fine thin hair is thinning........alot. I just went through a very emotionally stressful situation and lost 34 pounds in 2 months. I guess with the lack of nutrition, my body used up its iron storage...???.... One doctor tells me I should take 325mg of Ferrous Sulfate (iron supp) and 500 mg vitamin c (to assist with absportion) and another wants me to take Repliva 21/7. Of course, I want my levels to increase as quickly as possible so I can stop losing hair. Should I request IV iron treatments? Does anyone know if Repliva works better/faster than Ferrous Sulfate?

The only other symptoms that I have is my hands and feet stay cold. I am not tired and do not have headaches or anything. My Thyroid tests came back normal. I also work out 2-3 times a week.......and do not feel tired after this. ??

 
Old 01-15-2008, 11:29 PM   #7
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Re: Low ferritin, normal cbc??

Quote:
Originally Posted by christie67 View Post
I just found out that my cbc/hemoglobin is normal and my ferritin level is at 15. My already baby fine thin hair is thinning........alot. I just went through a very emotionally stressful situation and lost 34 pounds in 2 months. I guess with the lack of nutrition, my body used up its iron storage...???.... One doctor tells me I should take 325mg of Ferrous Sulfate (iron supp) and 500 mg vitamin c (to assist with absportion) and another wants me to take Repliva 21/7. Of course, I want my levels to increase as quickly as possible so I can stop losing hair. Should I request IV iron treatments? Does anyone know if Repliva works better/faster than Ferrous Sulfate?

The only other symptoms that I have is my hands and feet stay cold. I am not tired and do not have headaches or anything. My Thyroid tests came back normal. I also work out 2-3 times a week.......and do not feel tired after this. ??
christie,
with your levels so low, I would take the IV iron infusion. Even with having IV iron, it still will take you months to get your levels up. I have not have Repliva so I am not sure how long it takes or the amount they are giving you. For me I just finished three IV's in one week. They used Venofer(sp?) because it has less side effects and it was true. If you being offered the IV, take it. If you waited for the pills, you could be totally bald.

 
Old 01-16-2008, 06:33 AM   #8
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Re: Low ferritin, normal cbc??

Christie--I would at least try the supplements first. Your hair isn't going to do anything that drastic in a short time frame, especially if you are introducing iron into your system. I think you should try a script iron from your doctor. This does take time but from what I understand it's worth it and safer than any other form of replacement. Do a search for yourself on this board and find out what people here have to say about IV iron therapy. Be Well. FLFLOWERGIRL

 
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