I'm 31 years old and I've known my entire life that my father's side of the family carries the trait for Thalassemia minor. Whenever I have blood work done the doctor usually mentions finding numbers that are off. To my knowledge nobody has ever gone to any further extent to identify whether it is Alpha or Beta Thalassemia.
PHYSICAL IN 2012:
This year I had a physical. I had blood work taken but to my knowledge no specific iron testing or iron absorption testing. In addition my doctor administered an EKG that came back with a Right Bundle Branch Blockage. I went to a cardiologist and had an Echochardiogram. There was no issue with enlargement, function or valve regurgitation. However he did note a intra atrial septal aneurysm. He told me it was benign, very small and nothing to worry about.
My brother also carries the Thalassemia condition and recently had blood work done which showed an abnormally high Iron level in his body. He went to a blood specialist who believes he has two conditions independently, both genetic. One being the Thalassemia and the other being hemachromatosis. He is currently awaiting the genetic test results.
The reason for my post is this. My brother asked the doctor about my EKG and he noted that hemachromatosis can affect the heart. I'm wondering if what the cardiologist found which I noted above is consistent with the effects of having hemachromatosis? Can anyone provide insight by interpreting my blood work numbers below? Any insight would be appreciated.
CBC WITH AUTO DIFF
Mine Normal Range
WBC (WHITE) 6.4 4.5-11
RBC (RED BLOOD CELL) 6.47 4-5.7
HEMOGLOBIN 12.8 13-17
HEMATOCRIT 44.4 37-49
MCV 68.5 80-100
MCH 19.7 27-34
MCHC 29 32-36
RDW 14.9 11.5-15
PLATELET COUNT 316 130-400
Most recently speaking, can I ask what your iron levels have been like in the past few month?
Thank you for the reply. I became an "adult" so to speak in 2010 at the age of 30. Prior to that I never had any health issues, lived an active lifestyle and normal childhood filled with sports and lots of activities. At age 30 I decided it was time to finally start the preventative portion of my health care and was fortunate enough to get hooked up with a doctor who believes in healthcare vs. sickcare. Initially at age 30 I had my first blood work done. This is the only Iron test I've ever had to my knowledge. The numbers are below. My blood work that was ran on me in 2011 for my age 31 Physical did not include a test for Iron for whatever reason.
I was told the Intra atrial septal aneurysm is something that was so small unless I have symptoms I will be ok. The doctor wasn't really that approachable. Here are some known issues I seem to have with my heart, you can be the judge if these are normal or not or in some way possibly related to an iron issue.
Alcohol consumption speeds up my heart. I hardly ever drink anymore because I hate the feeling. I continuously have an elevated pulse rate no matter when it seems of around 80-90 BPM, even resting. I also have a prescription for 20mg of Adderall XR that I take sparingly. If I'm not careful to stay hydrated while on this medication I get what I believe to be dehydration which sometimes makes my chest feel tight. Sometimes it seems a big drink of water instantly makes it better, so I'm not sure if that is heart related or just my muscles tense in my body because of dehydration. More recently I've noticed that specific to moments after falling asleep at night, if I wake for any reason I get what seems to be an instantaneous increase in my heart rate which is sustained for several minutes. Sometimes I have to get out of bed. It's not an increase to the point of panic but what I would describe as running up the stairs once or twice. Just a feeling like I need to sit up and take a deep breath. I can literally feel it start immediately AFTER I wake up and it only happens in the periods initially after I just fall asleep. Everything I read on that seems to point to anxiety, which I have no history of ever suffering from or anyone in my family. The holiday heart thing is kind of annoying because nobody else in my family gets that either. Anyone who could potentially mash this all together to understand what's going on would be appreciated and wonder if any of these symptoms are consistent with the effects that iron levels could have on the heart. Thanks!
(ONE YEAR AGO) (MOST RECENT IRON TEST)
IRON BINDING CAPACITY
IRON SERUM 143
UNSATURATED IBC 172
CALCULATED TOTAL TIBC 315
I have Thalassemia minor. I have found that most doctors I come into contact with at the hospital or just in general family practice are not aware of what that means or that I can't have iron.
I have found two specialists in the last few years, however, that are familiar with Thalassemia. One is my OBGYN and the other is a hematologist. So, I constantly test anemic with any BBC count. I can't ever give blood because of that. Doctors that don't understand have tried numerous times to give me iron pills to help with the anemia. But, what they don't realize is that people with Thalassemia actually can't absorb the iron. Iron is toxic to our bodies. It can do all kinds of horrible things, like enlarge our organs. NEVER take iron if you have Thalassemia. You can help your body absorb iron from your food by eating citrus right before red meat, or any other food high in iron. Iron in food is not dangerous, since it is not as potent.
Having Thalaseemia makes you feel fatigued, light-headed at times, and cold. You feel cold because your body does not have as many red blood cells carrying around oxygen to your cells, which makes you warmer.
I have had issues with having anesthesia a few times with surgery. I am guessing it is because my body is fighting too hard to get the oxygen it needs.