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Old 05-05-2011, 12:44 PM   #1
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Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

I just found out in March that my Ferritin level was low, 6. Normal is 22-291. My CBC was normal though. I also have hypothyroidism and started taking a T4 med in January and started a T3 med in April. My symptoms have been aching and run down/fatigue. I started taking a liquid iron supplement and in 2months it raised my Ferritin to 11. I do feel like I am improving, but am not sure if this is due to my thyroid meds that I started or my liquid iron. I am definitely not feeling "normal" yet. Can a low ferritin level, but normal CBC cause aching and rundown/fatigue feeling? Or does your iron level need to be low as well to cause the aching and rundown/fatigue?
I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but my Neutrophils level over the years will occasionally drop below normal range. I have seen this in blood tests that have been ran. I'm not sure if the neutrophils will drop when you are not feeling right. I only have had blood tests when I have not felt right.
Here are some of my netrophil blood test results:
Standard range 2.1-7.7 K/uL
12/29/2010 3.3
3/1/2011 1.6
3/4/2011 5.3
Can this indicate cyclic anemia/nuetropenia?

 
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:20 PM   #2
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

Jenny--- I do not have all the answers to your questions. But I do have some thoughts and experiences to share. And, as you know from the thyroid board--I too have hypothyroid, have had low ferritin and also low vitamin d. And, when all those 3 things came on together , I felt awful. Today, I feel so much better and I think getting better takes working on all 3 conditions. I also think it is near impossible to tease out which symptoms are attributed to which deficiency as the symptoms so often overlap. I think it is just best to get started on a multi-pronged approach.

That being said...your ferritin is really low. I am sure that others on this board would agree . And, it will take some time to get your level up. And there is the question to what level? Some say at least 50. But, having spent sometime on this board , I think most of us want a ferritin of at least 75 if not higher.

It is truly a long slow process to get your levels up...for most of us who have been at the ferritin project it can take a year or two. There are different forms of iron . Personally I had a great deal of stomach upset with any of the ferrous formulas. So, I kept searching. I made great strides with proferrin and it doesn't make me ill . My ferritin is now around 60 but I want to get it higher so I am taking a low dose of proferrin daily and have had to adjust my thyroid meds accordingly.

As to your vitamin d--try to get that around 45ng/ml or higher. I would go for at least 50ng/ml on the vit d.

Anyway...you have your work cut out for you.

Just a final thought and this should actually have been the first point...did your dr. rule out other causes for your low ferritin? Generally before going to supplemental iron , a dr. should rule out other causes of low ferritin.
Azuree

 
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:16 PM   #3
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

Azuree: We do have quite a bit in common! My vitamin D level was 37, normal Kaiser level being 30-100 so my doctor did not recommend anything. Because I was not feeling the improvement that I wanted to see after beginning my thyroid meds and liquid iron supplement I started taking a Vitamin D supplement on occasion to see if my symptoms improved. I have not been taking it religiously though because I was not told by my doctor that I needed it. Do you know how much iron is safe to take per day?
I was tested for sooooo many autoimmune diseases and had so many different blood tests, ferritin being one of them. I am the one that asked the doctor if I could take a liquid supplement to boost my ferritin level. I asked my endocrinologist if my low ferritin level was due to my hypothyroidism and she told me that she didn't think so!? That suprised me. What are some other causes for low ferritin?

 
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:12 PM   #4
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

Jenny--A very good endo told me that low vit. d, ferritin and b12 levels can be associated with hypothyroid and that these low levels may be due to poor intestinal absorption of nutrients. I didn't have a b12 deficiency because I have supplemented daily with 1000mcg sublingual b12 for quite a few years. That endo also checked other vitamin/nutrient levels and some others like zinc were borderline low.

If you look on the net you can easily find other reasons for low ferritin including internal bleeding or dietary.

So do you have hashimto's? I do. It is an autoimmune condition which results in the destruction of the thyroid by tpo antibodies. Were your tpo antibodies tested?

Prior to getting my thryoid, ferritin and vit d levels right....I would have aches in my body, some intense aches in legs at night, and a myriad of other symptoms.

I think it is hard though to say that the low ferritin level is just due to thyroid levels being off...because I am quite certain that even if you get your thyroid levels right, your ferritin level will not return to a good level.( In my case , I didn't eat red meat or chicken for some 20yrs. so I also think that had a great deal to do with my low ferritin level.)

In any event, I can completely understand that you would not feel good. I do think though there is a lot that you can do to feel better. I also think that taking a probiotic daily is very helpful as well as daily exercise. I think you can turn things around it will just take a bit of effort and time.
Azuree

Last edited by azuree; 05-05-2011 at 03:14 PM.

 
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:30 PM   #5
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

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Originally Posted by azuree View Post
Jenny--A very good endo told me that low vit. d, ferritin and b12 levels can be associated with hypothyroid and that these low levels may be due to poor intestinal absorption of nutrients. I didn't have a b12 deficiency because I have supplemented daily with 1000mcg sublingual b12 for quite a few years. That endo also checked other vitamin/nutrient levels and some others like zinc were borderline low.

If you look on the net you can easily find other reasons for low ferritin including internal bleeding or dietary.

So do you have hashimto's? I do. It is an autoimmune condition which results in the destruction of the thyroid by tpo antibodies. Were your tpo antibodies tested?

Prior to getting my thryoid, ferritin and vit d levels right....I would have aches in my body, some intense aches in legs at night, and a myriad of other symptoms.

I think it is hard though to say that the low ferritin level is just due to thyroid levels being off...because I am quite certain that even if you get your thyroid levels right, your ferritin level will not return to a good level.( In my case , I didn't eat red meat or chicken for some 20yrs. so I also think that had a great deal to do with my low ferritin level.)

In any event, I can completely understand that you would not feel good. I do think though there is a lot that you can do to feel better. I also think that taking a probiotic daily is very helpful as well as daily exercise. I think you can turn things around it will just take a bit of effort and time.
Azuree
Yes, I do have Hashimotos and they did test my tpo antibodies and they were off the charts at >1000. My calcium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, b12(b12 was 794 and normal is >200) were all normal. I also take a b12 supplement and have been for the past 2 years, before all of my symptoms started. I have not had my zinc level tested.

 
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:06 PM   #6
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

Jenny--I do not think it would be worth it necessarily to have zinc levels tested. You already know you are low on some things. If you are not already doing so , add in a good multi, some vit.d and get your ferritin moving.

My tpo antibody level was 2250.It has come down about 70%with thyroid treatment.
Azuree

 
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:31 PM   #7
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

Please excuse me for interrupting, but you mentioned low vitamin D & I had a question about raising my vitamin D level. My CBC came back all screwed up because of very low iron, but it also showed my vitamin D was low - around 19. That is just so weird to me because I live in a Southern state with lots of sunshine and I drink milk & take a multivitamin.

Someone suggested to me that I may not be absorbing enough vitamin D because I have darker skin & people with darker skin need MORE sunlight than light skinned caucasians. I haven't been spending a lot of time outdoors lately so I wondered if that was the problem. I'm Native American/Asian/Italian (I know, what a mix ) so should I take the recommended amount of sunlight for a light caucasian & double it? triple it???

Thanks for any help

 
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:23 PM   #8
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

Hollyday-- Yes, I too have read that those with darker skin have more difficulty raising their vit d level by sun exposure. I have never really heard of doubling or tripling recommended time spent in the sun for people who have darker skin. I would think skin cancer could still be a consideration.

I have brought my vit d. level up from just about where you are at. Raising vit d level is a bit like raising ferritin , it takes time but it is does go a bit faster than ferritin. With your level in the high teens, I have heard experts recommending supplementation with 2,000 IU vit d3 a day for at least 3-6 months and then getting labs done. You should be sure to take your vit. d3 with your highest fat content meal of the day. A study was done that showed vit. d absorption was far greater when taken with a meal containing a higher fat content.
Good luck.
Azuree

 
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Old 05-06-2011, 06:19 PM   #9
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

Thank you for the info!

I've been told that I have a pretty small risk of skin cancer, however, I'm not real crazy about sunspots, wrinkles & sun damaged skin - lol - so I don't spend a lot of time in direct sun.

I'm going to try the supplementation with fatty meals. Thanks again!

 
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Old 05-11-2011, 05:55 AM   #10
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

Hi Jenny; Thyroid all aside (because I know nothing about that and mine was normal). What is your hemoglobin level? Because my Ferritin level is a 3 right now (I know, crazy low like my hemoglobin (6.9) and others are crazy low and some crazy high as well). As I research, I'm finding that Ferritin is like your storage pantry for red blood cells (am I right anyone?). Your body needs iron in order to make red blood cells... so by increasing the iron, now the body has the main ingredient it needs to 'make' the red blood cells/hemoglobin...but it takes 120 days for new red blood cells to form/hatch and be released into your system. So after just two months, it makes sense to me that you're not feeling great yet, because even if your iron levels are going up, your body hasn't finished producing and releasing all the new red blood cells that are going to bring that hemoglobin level up yet because it hasn't been 120 days yet? Maybe I'm just going by 'ME' though, and I don't know what your hemoglobin level is. I would think that when the hemoglobin (red blood cells) goes up, then you would start to feel better? Like you need to count out around 120 days from when you had that test?

I too have the pain, achiness and fatigue, but I wasn't thinking that the pain and aches had anything to do with the Ferritin, I was thinking it was my rheumatoid factor that showed up and was high

No matter with all these other numbers though - are you drinking enough water? Sometimes we forget how important it is to stay really hydrated - I think we need lots of water in order to have energy and for our bodies to run like 'well oiled' machines

Michelle

Last edited by teri579; 05-11-2011 at 05:56 AM.

 
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:59 AM   #11
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

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Hi Jenny; Thyroid all aside (because I know nothing about that and mine was normal). What is your hemoglobin level? Because my Ferritin level is a 3 right now (I know, crazy low like my hemoglobin (6.9) and others are crazy low and some crazy high as well). As I research, I'm finding that Ferritin is like your storage pantry for red blood cells (am I right anyone?). Your body needs iron in order to make red blood cells... so by increasing the iron, now the body has the main ingredient it needs to 'make' the red blood cells/hemoglobin...but it takes 120 days for new red blood cells to form/hatch and be released into your system. So after just two months, it makes sense to me that you're not feeling great yet, because even if your iron levels are going up, your body hasn't finished producing and releasing all the new red blood cells that are going to bring that hemoglobin level up yet because it hasn't been 120 days yet? Maybe I'm just going by 'ME' though, and I don't know what your hemoglobin level is. I would think that when the hemoglobin (red blood cells) goes up, then you would start to feel better? Like you need to count out around 120 days from when you had that test?

I too have the pain, achiness and fatigue, but I wasn't thinking that the pain and aches had anything to do with the Ferritin, I was thinking it was my rheumatoid factor that showed up and was high

No matter with all these other numbers though - are you drinking enough water? Sometimes we forget how important it is to stay really hydrated - I think we need lots of water in order to have energy and for our bodies to run like 'well oiled' machines

Michelle
Michelle,
My hemoglobin tested normal, just my ferritin is low. I was wondering if just a low ferritin could cause these symptoms. You are right. The ferritin is the storage of iron, or your iron reserve. I do make sure that I keep well hydrated. I also have hypothyroidism and I have been learning this may have led to my low Ferritin level. My vitamin D level was 36, the lower end of what is considered normal, so I also started taking a Vitamin D supplement. I just wish these symptoms would go away.

 
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:47 AM   #12
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

Okay so your hemoglobin is okay (mines not)... I don't have the thyroid thing (but you do) nor has my doctor checked vitamin D or anything so not sure about that. But we DO have low Ferritin levels in common and we both have achiness and fatigue. Though my fatigue has gone down so much since I started taking the iron and vitamins 12 days ago that I feel amazing! I don't even need a second cup of coffee anymore!

Sorry, back to the question at hand. So my point is that maybe there IS something about the low ferritin that can cause our aches and pains and fatigue. I just had a bunch more tests done by a rheumatologist yesterday to see if I have other diseases that could be causing the arthritis symptoms.

I have more bloodwork being done next Tuesday for a CBC, Ferritin (again, after being on iron for 10 days) SED rate and RETICULOCYTE count. I'm DYING to see what my Ferritin count is... she had me go from no iron up to 975mg (farous sulphate) in the last 5 days, now I'm 5 days before the blood test on 975/day so I REALLY hope to see a rise in that level. I've been taking them with vitamin C and not touching anything dairy for 3 hrs after taking them to aid in absorbtion and am so hopeful!

Try to stay positive - I feel guilty for feeling so much better so soon when so many of you on this forum have been feeling crappy for years. Have your doctors been checking for 'blood loss' as the possible cause? I just can't help but to wonder how many others might have uterine fibroid cysts that are living off of our blood supplies but don't know it. Apparently 50%+ of women between the ages of 30 and 50 have fibroid cysts, some just have no symptoms. My cyst/tumor is HUGE (9.6 cm which i guess is the size of a cantaloupe) and my gynecologist didn't feel it during a routine pelvic exam. He didn't even feel it or see it when doing a pap smear - it wasn't visible until he did the ultrasound. But as I read about these cysts, they are like blood suckers (eek!) I can't wait to get this thing out I feel now like it's been taking my blood away from me for years. I just want to make sure that this avenue has been explored (the gynecological one) and even though I think you said you don't have heavy periods, it doesn't mean there might not be some of these hiding and quietly thriving and growing at your expense!

Please let us know if you find anything out, I'll keep you posted too if I find anything more out about your question

Take care,

Michelle

Michelle

 
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:57 PM   #13
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

Hi Jenny: Like you I also have very low ferritin. I just made a little chart for myself (and to review w/ the MDs) b/c I'm trying to see if there is a trend. My gyno today tells me she suspect hypothyroidism for me so we did the labs and we'll find out. How stable is the number supposed to be? I see some people say it's ideal to be at 1. Mine was 2.10 in 9/2007, 2.219 in 5/2009 and then in 3/2011 it elevated to 3.46. that's why she suspected it could be problematic, even tho it's within range.

My ferritin level has also gone down gradually. It ws 9 in 12/2009, 7 in 12/10, and 5 iin 3/2011!!! So I am not beginning to read the posts and learning alot from everyone's experiences here.

has anyone noticed any trend in their cholesterol levels? I did in mine. I've noticed that my good cholesterol has dropped and my bad has gone up, tho gradual.This concerns me but i don't know how to interpret the numbers, so I will bring that up on my next appt. It is strange b/c i have been eating oatmeal regularly for a good few years and to see my good cholesterol drop gradually, I wonder somehow if there is some sort of correlation ?

 
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Old 05-20-2011, 04:41 PM   #14
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

Fitness Seeker, yes most people with hypothyroidism do feel better with their TSH in the lower end of normal. Also, it is very common for those with hypothyroidism to have high cholesterol. I just started thyroid meds in January of this year and found out that my cholesterol is much higher than I thought it would be. It was 198, still normal, but with how healthy I have been eating over the past two years I was really expecting to see a much, much better number. My endocrinologist said that once I get my thyroid under control that my cholesterol level will get better. I started taking an iron supplement after finding out that my ferritin was 6 and 1 1/2 months later it went up to 11. It takes awhile to get the ferritin level back up.
What types of symptoms are you having with your ferritin that low?

 
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:46 PM   #15
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Re: Can Low Ferritin But Normal CBC Cause Achiness and Fatigue?

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Originally Posted by Jenny95123 View Post
I just found out in March that my Ferritin level was low, 6. Normal is 22-291. My CBC was normal though. I also have hypothyroidism and started taking a T4 med in January and started a T3 med in April. My symptoms have been aching and run down/fatigue. I started taking a liquid iron supplement and in 2months it raised my Ferritin to 11. I do feel like I am improving, but am not sure if this is due to my thyroid meds that I started or my liquid iron. I am definitely not feeling "normal" yet. Can a low ferritin level, but normal CBC cause aching and rundown/fatigue feeling? Or does your iron level need to be low as well to cause the aching and rundown/fatigue?
what were your HGB and HCT levels?

yes I read that if the low ferritin involves very low iron stores in tissues (other than bone marrow), then you can have such symptoms. I was also worried myself because I got weird muscle pains and weakness but it seems to be related. my HGB(12.1) and HCT were tested to be in the normal range, just at the low end of it, MCV too low though, below normal. so I'm guessing bone marrow was making up for this by producing more RBC's, because cell count is higher than it was last year when I had better HGB and better iron levels.

so anyway, this is why I'm asking exactly where your HGB is in the range. also how about MCV and MCH?

what would really show if the tissues in general (such as muscle tissue - your aches, are they muscle aches??) are low in iron, is a soluble transferrin receptor test. if sTFR is high in the blood, then your tissues don't have any iron in them.
of course a low ferritin level will suggest this too, but I read in some articles that sTFR can be an even better marker.

PS: I don't know anything about thyroid stuff so no idea about the possibility of that problem causing the aches etc.

Last edited by hmm82; 05-20-2011 at 05:48 PM.

 
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