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Old 12-18-2011, 09:57 PM   #1
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Iron Deficient but not Anemic?

My hematologist (who I see yearly for follow-up on a rare cancer-like blood disorder) noticed that my platelets have been low for some time and checked my iron levels back in October. When he checked them the first time, my iron was 80, TIBC 630, UIBC 550, and SAT% 13 (he didn't check my ferratin), but my hemoglobin and hematocrit were normal. Three weeks later, my iron was 26, TIBC 682, UIBC 656, SAT% 4, and ferratin 4 (but my HGB was still 14; HCT 43.1). He put me on iron supplements and since then my iron level and SAT% have gone up (157 and 30 respectively) and my TIBC has gone down (531), but my ferratin has stayed the same (ironically my HGB was 12.8 and HCT 38.3 - lower than pre-iron supplements).

The problem is... I have all of the symptoms of anemia. But I'm not anemic, just really iron deficient. I can't seem to find much information about that and I have no idea what is causing it or if it could be causing my symptoms (extreme fatigue, chronic pain, rapid heart rate, etc). I have an IUD so I have very little menstrual bleeding l and I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy but they didn't find any bleeding. My hematologist referred me to my GI doc and told me to take OTC iron for 6 months and come back to see him in a year. I'm really new to this, though, and don't know - are these iron levels enough off that I should be concerned and keep trying to find out what is causing them (and if so, HOW?)? Why am I iron deficient but not anemic? Can iron deficiency cause symptoms without anemia? Any thoughts/advice/help would be greatly appreciated!

 
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:27 AM   #2
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Re: Iron Deficient but not Anemic?

I have been feeling the same. My ferritin is 14 my iron is 60 and my cbc is normal. The rapid heart beat bothers me the most and the off balance feeling.

 
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Old 12-24-2011, 06:37 PM   #3
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Re: Iron Deficient but not Anemic?

I have similar issues (ferritin levels of 3, 9, etc.). Mine is most likely caused by heavy periods coupled with an inability to absorb iron because of daily use of prilosec to treat GERD caused by a hiatal hernia.

I can tell when my ferritin level is bottoming out because I become depressed, my hands and feet are freezing and really hurt. I have severe restless leg syndrome, but no rapid heartbeat.

When my saturation falls and I actually become anemic, all of the above symptoms worsen. In addition, I also have a "heart flutter" (that's my term, not the dr's) and I eat ice like crazy.

I see a hematologist for iron infusions every 4-5 months. He says that it is unusual to exhibit symptoms of anemia with just a low ferritin level, but: "everyone is different".

I hope this helps.

 
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:37 PM   #4
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Re: Iron Deficient but not Anemic?

I do take 15mg of Prevacid daily, but they said that would likely not be causing iron absorption problems because I used to take 60mg/day (prior to Nissen fundoplication surgery for GERD) and I didn't have low iron at that point and my low iron is more recent.

It is good to know that someone else has experienced symptoms with just low ferratin, but not being anemic. Have your iron infusions helped? I've been taking oral iron for almost 2 months and haven't noticed any difference in how I feel at all. When they checked my levels after one month on supplements, my iron had gone up but my ferratin hadn't at all yet, so perhaps that's why I'm not feeling any better. Hopefully it will start to go up soon...

 
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Old 12-24-2011, 11:30 PM   #5
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Re: Iron Deficient but not Anemic?

I feel much better after the infusions. Oral supplementation does nothing for me. I hope your levels continue to improve

 
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