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Old 12-28-2008, 03:08 PM   #1
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Iron is still low, what now?

I just got a call from my doctor that left me completely underwhelmed.

In September my doctor did routine blood tests. He said everything came back fine. However, I was in seeing another doctor who said- "Your iron is low." After telling him that the other doctor didn't mention it he retested my iron and tested my ferritin.

He called and told me that my ferritin level was 5 and that I should start taking iron supplements and follow up with my GP. So I did. I went in he looked at my hands, pressed them and said, "well it doesn't look like you are anemic, go get these blood tests right now". He called today and said my iron is low and that I should take a supplement. I said "I take one every day". His response was "Well, take two." And that was the end of the conversation.

I am lost and don't know what to do at this point. I must clean my bathroom floor nightly b/c there are gobs of hair on it, my hands and feet are always freezing, I'm tired and I lose my breath easily when working out. I'm frustrated and need to know what I should do next. Thank you for any support.

Also, my iron levels were tested 3 1/2 years ago and found to be low. This is not a new problem.

 
Old 12-28-2008, 10:51 PM   #2
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Re: Iron is still low, what now?

If iron deficiency is still a problem for you, have you tried eating iron-rich foods or taking the iron supplements along with vitamin C containing foods? The presence of vitamin C increases the amount of iron absorbed. Note that iron from meat sources is generally absorbed better than iron from non-meat sources.

Also, if you cook acidic foods (spaghetti sauce, chili, etc.), you may want to fortify them with iron by cooking them in cast iron pots (unless you share the food with people who may be vulnerable to iron overload).

 
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:33 AM   #3
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Re: Iron is still low, what now?

Mollyanne,
I'm sorry that you are not getting the care and advice you need from your GP. Have you been his patient for a long time? I ask because I'm wondering if perhaps you should be seeking your care from another GP who will take your blood levels seriously and investigate why your ferritin is so low.

The first thing that I would suggest is that you get a copy of your blood test results so that you can see exactly what all your numbers are. You can then post them here and some of the "experts" here will be able to help interpret them. I think the second thing you need to do is find another GP or if you do not need his permission just make an appointment with a hematologist who will be able to investigate further. You may even need to see a Gastroenterologist to determine if you have a GI bleed which could be causing the low blood levels.

This is what happened to me - my ferritin was a 5 in July and my GP sent me to a GI who did a celiac bllod panel to see if I had celiac which causes malabsorption. When that was negative, I then had to have a colonoscopy to see if there was any lower GI bleeding. Again that was negative so she then did a capsule endoscopy to check my small intestine which was negative. Since I had an upper endoscopy (which checks the stomach) in March she did not do another one of those but you might need one. so next stop was to see a hematologist who did some very thorough bloodwork and immediatley put me on oral iron (Niferex 150) twice a day and is monitoring me monthly. I see her next Wednesday as a matter of fact.

You didn't say how old you are and if you still have your period. If so that might be the first cause of your problem and perhaps that needs to be addressed.

I know it is hard to change doctors (been there, done that!) but you need someone who will follow up and help you feel better.

Take Care!
susie
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:45 AM   #4
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Re: Iron is still low, what now?

I just wanted to put in two votes of confidence with what susie has said!

I don't know why this happens, family doctors are usually very good with common problems, but for some reason, many of them drop the ball when it comes to iron deficiency. When one has iron deficiency, the right thing to do is just supplement it right? WRONG! Well, not totally wrong. If you need iron supplementation, you need it, BUT, many doctors overlook a very important question (and something susie mentioned), the question is WHY do you have iron deficiency?

The most common causes of iron deficiency including heavy periods (in menstruating women), chronic slow blood loss from the GI tract (ulcers, polyps, colon cancer, and celiac disease) and then there are other causes which are weird, and should be seen by either a general internist or a hematologist.

 
Old 12-30-2008, 05:16 PM   #5
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Re: Iron is still low, what now?

mollyanne24--I agree with what Susieq14 had to say regarding steps to follow to find a cause. This is the typical process that we here go through. This is your best advice. Best of luck to you. FLFLOWERGIRL

 
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