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Old 02-22-2011, 09:12 AM   #1
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Longtime anemia?

I had my blood checked about a month ago and the doc said my iron was 5 and should be at least 15. My hemoglobin was also low, so they wanted me to come back for a follow up (which I haven't done yet because it costs $100 and the nurse said it's "not urgent"). When I was pregnant almost 3 years ago my iron was 8. I was exhausted and out of breath, palps and my muscles were burning.

I went through this strange set of symptoms in the months before I got pregnant, too. I started getting burning in my legs and arms from just walking or doing normal stuff. I got so weak and tired and my heart beat like 100 all the time. I was out of breath just walking to the bathroom. Had tons of heart tests and x rays of my lungs and whatnot, had EKG's and echos and all that. It all mysteriously resolved itself some months later (weird.)

I had been sorta fine, getting along but still achy (tho no burning/weakness) and just always a bit tired but I got used to feeling that way. Went on like this for months.

Anyway, the past week or two I've been feeling my muscles get worn out a lot sooner and my legs have started burning again. It's like I will be typing and my arms get tired and I have to rest them. I walk and then sit down and my leg muscles burn like I have been doing squats. I am sleepy all the time, I need naps at least once a day if not twice. (I also recently gained 30 lbs from taking Zoloft so I'm a lot heavier now than I was, which is hard to drag around, too.)

I have been having muscle spasms, bouts where my arm or leg would get weak for a few seconds and have a spasm, and sharp shooting pains in my nerves, plus my tongue hurt for like 2 weeks, and my fingertips went a bit numb.

Now since the doc told me I am anemic (and my regular doc in Texas -- I'm in canada right now -- also told me a year or so ago that I was low in iron but not "anemic" and told me to take prenatal vitamins which I can't because of my stomach issues). It seems i have been borderline anemic for years and when it dips low, I get the burning muscles and fatigue and all the rest. It got so bad in 2007 that I couldn't even wash my hair.

I just got "feraMax" -- 150 mg of elemental iron and I got some Vitamin C. I can't tell what kind of iron is in this stuff -- it says polysaccaride iron complex or something. What IS that?

Now the question is, it's anemia, right? (I still always doubt it and worry myself that it's something else.) Also, how long does it take to get the levels back to normal? The box for Feramax says that you have to take it for 3-6 MONTHS after hemoglobin levels return to normal. So I'm gonna be on this stuff for a long while.

Another thing is how do you deal with the constipation? I got some Miralax which works well but you're really not supposed to take it for more than a week at a time. I read that high fiber stuff can decrease iron absorption, too. I've been eating fiber like mad because I have gut problems and get constipated very easily (I can't even LOOK at cheese!)

Thanks for reading all this and for any advice. I still need to see the doc for my follow up as the nurse had mentioned supplements so I will have to just pony up the cash.

Last edited by Calamy; 02-22-2011 at 10:11 AM. Reason: tried to make the post shorter

 
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:39 AM   #2
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Re: Longtime anemia?

Resolving anemia does take time. I found it took 4 months to resolve.

I couldn't do the iron tablets. I had terrible stomach pain and throat trouble, so I switched to Liquid Floradix, and I've had no side effects from it, and it works for me.

Along with iron trouble, I had B12 issues, and I had the zap-thingy. So, although it's more money to spend, you really probably should find out if you're B12 deficient. A good hint is to look at your CBC results and look at the MCV value - that's the one that tells you what size your red blood cells are. If the MCV is high, it could mean a B12 or folic acid deficiency. If the MCV is low, it usually indicates iron deficiency. If it's normal, could be you have both(like me!).

The Floradix started raising my hemoglobin in 4 weeks, I think. Then it just kept going up. You've got to find something that works and stick with it - even when you start feeling better so you can build up those iron stores!

 
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:13 PM   #3
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Re: Longtime anemia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by japlopper View Post
Resolving anemia does take time. I found it took 4 months to resolve.

I couldn't do the iron tablets. I had terrible stomach pain and throat trouble, so I switched to Liquid Floradix, and I've had no side effects from it, and it works for me.

Along with iron trouble, I had B12 issues, and I had the zap-thingy. So, although it's more money to spend, you really probably should find out if you're B12 deficient. A good hint is to look at your CBC results and look at the MCV value - that's the one that tells you what size your red blood cells are. If the MCV is high, it could mean a B12 or folic acid deficiency. If the MCV is low, it usually indicates iron deficiency. If it's normal, could be you have both(like me!).

The Floradix started raising my hemoglobin in 4 weeks, I think. Then it just kept going up. You've got to find something that works and stick with it - even when you start feeling better so you can build up those iron stores!

Thanks for your reply! I am gonna look into the Floradix -- it isn't going to cause constipation is it? I have had severe constipation and it's the one thing that frightens me off taking iron pills. And I mean severe constipation

Why does iron make people constipated, anyway?

 
Old 02-22-2011, 12:22 PM   #4
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Re: Longtime anemia?

I don't know why iron tablets bring things to a halt, but man, oh man, they do for me.

Floradix does not cause me constipation at all.

 
Old 03-03-2011, 03:22 PM   #5
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Re: Longtime anemia?

I have been taking the Feramax for 6 months. In the first three months, my iron levels rose from 15 to 18. In the second three months, they rose from 18 to 22. My doctor wants me to keep taking it until my levels are in the 30's, which at this rate will probably be another year! The negative side is the slow increase and the cost (it is almost $20 for a 30-day supply.) The positive side is that I get absolutely no gastric problems from this stuff. I have tried all kinds of iron supplements and stopped taking them because of severe constipation and stomach pains. But the Feramax causes me absolutely no problems. If you try the Floradix and don't like the results, maybe give the Feramax a try.

 
Old 03-03-2011, 03:34 PM   #6
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Re: Longtime anemia?

Thank you for this -- I can't take the Floradix when I travel, so it's good to know there's another option!!!

And yes, don't stop until your levels are way, way up!!

 
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