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Old 10-13-2008, 04:31 PM   #1
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low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

hello. i am new to these boards and i'm very happy to have found them. my "story" is a bit long but i would appreciate any input anyone could offer.
everything started about two months ago. i had been getting fatigued easily for years. i thought it was weird (since i'm only 24) but i figured it was just because i was busy and on my feet a lot. anyway . . . two months ago i started feeling extremely foggy headed and weak. i felt very clumsy and was dropping things a lot. i began to experience vertigo and slight nausea. it's important to note that the vertigo was not spinning but almost like a tilting of things around me and a "swaying". i woke up one morning with "jello legs" and it scared me. a lot. i then began feeling tingling in my lower legs and also sometimes in my arm. my whole body felt heavy like a ragdoll. it's also important to note that there were not "episodes" but more of a continious feeling. my heart rate began to feel fast but not after anything in particular. it was almost like i noticed it beating more and like i could feel my pulse throughout my whole body. i also had muscle twitching and have had occasional leg cramps at night. i also started to get out of breath easily when walking up stairs. this was new to me because i'm an active person. it seems as though i sweat a lot easier and have become very insensitive to heat. i do get dizzy sometimes instead of the vertigo but it will always happen with me getting really hot and nauseous at the same time. that has actually been happening occasionally for a year or two.
i felt so bad one night that i had to go to the hospital. they took one look at me, my age, and the fact that i'm in a difficult program in college and of course they said: "ANXIETY!" and gave me a wonderful little paper of what anxiety was and sent me home. i am not depressed or stressed adn i'm in fact very happy with where i live and what i am doing.
since then i've been to several GPs, a neurologist, and an ENT.
i was tested for lyme's disease twice (very big where i live), for mono, and tests relating to MS. i also had an MRI of my head. and a B-12 test everything came back normal. my testing at the ENT came back a little funky but i will talk about that in a minute.
my MCV and MCH had been low in several of my blood works over the past two months but because my hemo and hematocrit were in the normal range it got overlooked. finally my pcp decided to test my ferritin anyway. wellll guess what? it was a 4. she said it could be causing my symptoms and started me on oral iron.
i know from reading posts on here that the cause of the anemia needs to be found but i think i know why. it's not my periods because i am on bc that only allows me to get it three months (because i was getting menstrual migraines). i have had IBS for years so in order to deal with it i stopped eating a lot of "real" food so i can function. i stopped eating red meat completely about a year ago. i also was on a proton pump inhibitor for a year and a half so i'm assuming i wasn't getting enough stomach acid to get any iron out of the little iron i was getting. does anyone think i should look for another reason? i had a colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy a year go relating to my IBS troubles and they were normal.
i guess another question i have is has anyone had vertigo (not dizziness) with iron deficiency? like a feeling of rocking or swaying or tilting? i am suspicious that this is something separate and i guess it would make me feel better if someone told me they did have vertigo with it. My testing at the ENT makes him think i have some sort of virus in my ear nerves but there's no way to prove it and he thinks it will just "go away". yeah i'm sure. but i still am following up with him becasue i don't want to overlook anything else going on.
pleaseeeeee offer your advice. no one my age i go to school with really understands. and if it wasn't for me being extremely aggressive, the drs wouldn't have tested me for half the stuff i get tested for. it's so frustrating. oh and also i'm going to an endocrinologist for thyroid tests in a few weeks just to be safe. he might think i'm nuts too but that's quite alright.
thank you for reading this!
- mmmalis

 
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:51 PM   #2
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

I have had a lot of your symptoms. My ear troubles are the ones that bother me the most. I have ringing and humming tinnitus that drives me crazy and my left ear really hurts a lot. I think that I have something going on with my ear that may be unrelated to the iron deficiency. My ferritin is 10. You can read my other posts to see all of my symptoms, I just wanted you to know that I do feel the swaying and feel as if the floor is tilted sometimes (when my ear is at its worst). No doctor can find anything wrong with my ear though.

 
Old 10-13-2008, 05:54 PM   #3
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

mmmalis--IMO--Your symptoms are typical of iron deficiency anemia/low ferritin/no ferritin (no iron) in your case. Symptoms are different for everyone, but I can tell you that I had Vertigo, hit the doorway when passing through, buzzing in the ears and all the other symptoms that you mention and much more. I can tell you two things about that; some will go away as your ferritin stores are repleted, and others will just go away on their own and you may be left with one or two to figure out at a later date. This is usually how it goes for those of us trying to rule out different reasons for our symptoms.

You are young and they don't usually do the GI testing that often, however, since you just had it done a year ago and are clear I don't think that it would be necessary again at your age. This question of course should be presented to your GI doc that ran your previous test if at all possible. Your low ferritin may be due to your diet and 3X yearly periods as a combination. PPI's are usually only a problem in long term use from what my doc tells me. They do hinder the absorption of iron up to 50% I think for 12-15 hrs, something like that. The rest of the time you are able to absorb normally. But these reasons can contribute to your ferritin problem. It takes years to deplete your iron stores so this has been a problem for a long time most likely and you didn't realize it because they don't routinely do the ferritin check.

You should discuss your options with your PCP. I would try the oral iron route first and see how well you store iron. When your Hgb is at a healthy level your body will then store the ferritin better. You can begin eating meat 3X weekly for starters and this helps to build ~very quickly~ if you have a simple diet related iron deficiency. Along with iron supplements, B-complex for building healthy RBC's and a multivitamin. Be sure that your iron has Vit-C added already or take on the side. You seem like you are very well informed and know what to do. Keep us posted. FLFLOWERGIRL

 
Old 10-15-2008, 03:33 PM   #4
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

thank you both very much for replying. hopefully i will let you know soon that things are better. thanks again.

 
Old 10-15-2008, 04:04 PM   #5
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

mmmalis,

You have many, many, many of the symptoms of lyme's disease, anemia being just one (it's caused by the coinfection babesia)....many people tested for lyme have "normal" tests so some lyme literate medical doctors (LLMDs) don't rely on tests but treat based on symptoms. If you haven't seen a LLMD, I would recommend you make an appt to see one! If you have seen one, I'd make an appt to see a different one.

If I were you, I'd read the stickies on the lyme boards and then read some general posts. I think you'll find a wealth and support there.

Again, anemia is a symptom of something gone wrong...as are the other symptoms. Treating the anemia may make you feel better temporarily, but it will not take care of your other problems!

Bethsheba

Last edited by bethsheba; 10-15-2008 at 04:06 PM.

 
Old 10-15-2008, 05:56 PM   #6
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

You, me and 8monthslater have a lot of the same symptoms. For me for years I felt weird foggy feelings and tiredness, but didnt think that much of it. Then I had a baby (he is nine months old) and had surger (lots of blood loss) and then bled vaginally for almost five weeks ( A LOT). After that, I felt terrible. I began by seeing an endo who tested everything she could think of...all thyroid tests came back okay. But my ferritin was a 1 and i was iron deficient although they said not anemic because my hemoglobin was in the normal range. I have been taking iron and other suuplements for five months and feel SO much better. I was having the same vertigoish feeling you describe. ANother thing is if I turned my head it took a few seconds for my vision to adjust. It sucked. My b12 was in the low normal range.
Interestingly enough about four years ago, I gave up red meat and leafy green veggies among other things. SInce there were no immediate affects, I assumed this diet was okay for me....then I got pregnant (didnt take any prenatal vitamins (which I severely regret) and drained whatever reserves of vitamins and minerals I had. I am finally feeling better except for the occasioanl shakiness (like low blood sugar feeling).

I hope you get some answers and dont get frustrated as it can take months for iron to come back up, especially if you get one of those seasonal periods.

 
Old 10-15-2008, 07:23 PM   #7
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

Hi There
PPI's will cause a B12 defeciency if taken for a period of time for sure......
B12 deficeicny will cause all of those symptoms it will cause neuro damage below 550 in Japan the lowest level is 550 interesting that everywhere else is 200 and Japan has the lowest alzheimers rate......

The difference is iron deficiency doesnt cause numbness and tingling that seems to be B12 as it affects the CNS

Cheers

 
Old 10-16-2008, 06:01 AM   #8
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

hi. rainbows end - thank you for your reply. the neurologist i went to tested my B-12 level and told me it was "normal". last week i sent a request to release my medical records (apparently in the state where i'm going to college you have to do this you can't just get them) and i should hopefully get my values sent soon. i was thinking that he could have said the B-12 was normal but in reality it could be at the low end of the range. in the meantime i've been taking sublingual B-12 just in case.

bethsheba - thank you for your reply. i know how unreliable lyme's tests can be and it def makes me nervous. after the next string of dr apps i have i'm hoping to find one who has more experience with lymes and infectious disease. i had the titer twice with a lot of time in between but i know the results are still unreliable.


stephrabin- thank you for your reply. it's reassuring to here someone say that they feel a lot better. it's interesting that you say you feel shaky . . . like a low blood sugar feeling. a few years back i could get up drink coffee and go a couple hours without eating and feel fine. now if i don't eat every few hours i feel AWFUL. like shaky and that i need to eat NOW. sometimes i feel shaky even when i eat recently. weird. thank you for your support. i don't know how you do it with a kid also. my sister has two little ones and i see how much work it is even when you feel well. i will be taking this gross iron religiously and i will let you know what happens.

 
Old 09-28-2011, 12:47 PM   #9
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

I appreciate that this is an old posting but wanted to throw my 2 cents in for other people doing a search. My iron stores are at 10% of what they should be and found out that I have a thyroid on it's way out...so to speak. Low iron, magnesium, calcium and possibly b12 are common with thyroid issues. (low at least) I am definitely having the vertigo issue...

 
Old 09-28-2011, 09:12 PM   #10
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

I am 99% sure the original poster has migraine associated vertigo. She sounds like a textbook case of it.

 
Old 02-12-2012, 08:49 AM   #11
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

31 year female, I have heavy periods due to a uterine fibroid. I am anemic and have low iron. My hemoglobin was 5 in 2008. I had the fibroid removed in june 2009 and another grew back while preggers in 2010. I had a csection, so that was blood loss in september 2010. Then once my periods started up again in dec 2010, they got progressively heavier due to the new fibroid. My labs in august 2011 came back low, Moderate Microcytic Anemia. My hemoglobin was a 8, hematocrit was low, mcv was low, you name it. Then a doctor tested my ferritin in november 2011 and it was 15!! The range for that lab is 8 - 200. So the doctor said no your fine, it just vertigo and anxiety you are feeling, ugh!!! So I just went to the free clinic last week for my iron pills and ongoing dizziness and lightheadedness, and this nurse practioner told me, that ferritin level of 15 is too low!! And yes it can cause all the symptoms I am having. So she put me on 325mg of iron twice a day. I have no health insurance, but when I get some, I will be getting rid of this fibroid!

Here are my ongoing, yet on and off, symptoms; Weakness, fatigue, dizziness (ugh!!) lightheadedness, if i turn my head i a direction, it takes a while for my eyes to focus, migraines, i feel like im sawying ot tilting, brain fog, this is the worse!! Some days I find it hard to focus or concentrate, i feel like im loosing my mind or getting dumb. My eyes gets a little blurry.
My thyroid has been check, its normal.
chest xray, ct scan of head, abdominal, ekg, heart ultrasound, all normal. Only thing comes back is Anemia and Anxiety.

 
Old 04-16-2012, 10:03 AM   #12
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

Hey, I'm just curious did you ever figure out what was wrong with you? I'm experiencing the exact same symptoms. Jello legs, numbness, the swaying, etc... I was tested for lymes, had an ENT test, MRI and about every other test you can imagine- and the only thing they might think it is is a b12 deficiency or anemia. Please let me know!

 
Old 04-16-2012, 07:33 PM   #13
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

My problem was iron defiency anemia. On feb 17, 2012 I recieved my blood work and my hemoglobin was 9 and my ferritin level was an 8!!!! I was almost depleted!!! Thats why i was so dizzy. They put me on 325mg ferrous sulfate twice a day. So I took them EVERY SINGLE DAY, faithfully!!! just got my new labs back last week. and my hemo went up to a 12 and my ferritin went to a 28!!!! Not to mention all my dizzy symtoms are gone....weakness? gone! I feel do much better and i will stay on my iron. My doctor told me that my low iron levels caused all my problems....i will never let it get that low, lol

 
Old 04-16-2012, 07:46 PM   #14
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

thank you so much for the response!! It has been very helpful! I will get on the iron!

Last edited by 10meldewey; 04-16-2012 at 07:47 PM.

 
Old 04-16-2012, 07:57 PM   #15
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Re: low ferritin, vertigo, and other fun things

But make sure that low iron is your issue. Check with your doctor first.

 
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