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    Old 02-23-2007, 08:36 AM   #1
    fjones1
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    Low Ferritin

    I have a question for people with low ferritin. I would like to know how you are coping with it? For people with ferritin 20 and under, do you feel any affects because of it? Mine is 23 and I usually feel horrible. I'm extremely tired, my joints ache sometimes and I have very bad dizzy spells. Are you able to function during the day, get through a day of work, engage in social activities? I'm hardly able to do these things anymore, even though I've raised my levels some. It seems that even the specialists just keep telling you to take iron and eat red meat. I don't think the vegetable with iron are helping me much. Do any of your doctors suggest IV iron or a more aggressive treatment? It's hard to believe people can walk around with levels of 4 and 5 and doctor's just tell them they're normal. At one time my doctor was telling me she wanted mine at around 50, but since I've raised mine to 23 from 4 she just wants to leave it at that.

     
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    Old 02-23-2007, 09:43 AM   #2
    ChristineVA
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    I don't know how long my ferritin has been low but I think, probably for about 2 years now.

    Several years ago, my best friend and I used to go out power-walking. We did this for years. Then I started to notice that I just would get so tired from walking. I remember at first I would start dropping out from our walks occasionally. Then I didn't go at all, except for by myself and then I really slowed it down and cut my distance. Then I finally stopped. I tried to blame it on all kinds of things--the traffic whizzing by, anxiety, etc. Bottom line is that my physical stamina was flagging.

    Then I started noticing that simpler things tired me out. I chalked it up to being "out of shape." Again, at this point I had never had any blood work done. Well, I had some done for other reasons and my hematocrit, hemoglobin, etc. were all normal so no reason to check anything more out.

    Then, last summer, I was seeing a dermatologist for a rash and he ran bloodwork to rule out lupus. That was the first time I was anemic (just 7 months prior, I was not). I then went through a few other tests and never had my ferritin checked. Finally, this past January, AFTER supplementing with iron, I discovered that my anemia was again "fixed" however, my first ferritin test showed that I was at a "5".!! Wow, no wonder I feel like crap.

    So, how do I cope. I drag myself out of bed each morning, get my kids ready for school, and work a full-time job. I would be lying if I said that my job performance has not been affected. It has. I have VERY LITTLE mental ambition to do my job. I have also cut back drastically my *walks* over to the clients office and I do most everything via e-mail or a courier. I could walk there but I would pay for it in the evening.

    When I get home at night I cook dinner and basically sit on my butt all night. I have a beautiful treadmill in the basement that I would love to use; however, I know that one night on the treadmill will equate to DAYS of fatigue.

    My weekend activities are definitely slowed down. I used to be the person who would run around all weekend and shop, go out to eat, more shopping. Now I do very little of that and just stay in and work on my laundry and stuff and read.

    I'm hoping to get this "fixed" soon. I just completed my GI studies (colonoscopy and upper endoscopy). The colonoscopy was fine but, lo and behold, my stomach was bleeding due to gastritis. My GI doc doesn't think this is the cause of my anemia, but heck, why did we do the tests then??? Doctors!!!!

    So, if I can get my stomach fixed and maybe try to lighten my periods, take some iron, I can get back to normal.

     
    Old 02-23-2007, 08:35 PM   #3
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    Christine, I want to join you and yell "why did we do the tests then??? Doctors!!!!" ???????????

    I've done a ton of tests. It's leading me to the worsen point. Mine tests most come up with "artefact"! Or the dr without "have a look"! Can you believe recently a dr discharged me from the hospital wasn't know what sort of medication that I took and what is my blood work results?

    Once happened on me at 1988..... After few weeks stayed at the hospital. Dr said, "give her some blood test!" I said, "NO"! You haven't told me what was the result from last few week's test yet? A group of Drs "blank"???? After an hour, a nurse brought me a small cupful of colourful chemical smarties! "What are these for?" "Your blood cells shape wasn't good, plus ..... It was a big mess there."

    I advise you all have a copy of your report and read by yourselves. You would get a surprise!

     
    Old 02-23-2007, 09:01 PM   #4
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    Thanks for the advice. Christine from VA, I can really relate to not having mental ambition to do your job. All my energy is focused on talking myself into making it through another day and hoping I won't have to leave work early. As for Pika, you've posted several messages stating your levels. It sounds like you really need to get either IV iron or a blood transfusion with levels as low as yours. Have any of the doctors you've seen even suggested either of these treatments? How are you even walking around with iron at those levels?

     
    Old 02-23-2007, 11:56 PM   #5
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    Gastro dr said is period problem, she won't care. Women's Hosp said is gastro problem because she gave me too much Nexium. Now they both don't want me. GP found me another gastro dr which she'll look at it in March.

    I'm still living with it. May be I use to it when my heart is beating fast. I tolerate SOB, dizzy and ...... I'm still working, doing ton of house works and shopping. I've a very quick shopping because I'll feel faint and I need to run back to the car and breath. My ferritin at 5 since 1999. Could you believe it? Cholesterol and diabete dr wants me to do exercise! Minimum walk 45 minutes each day, must get sweat a lot! For me it is harder than become an iron man! I'm 5'7" - 76.6kg. I know I need to take off some weight but I didn't have a magic wand! Can't make it a blink will see the result! I'm keep trying and doing the best that I can .........

     
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    Old 02-24-2007, 05:57 AM   #6
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    Pika,

    I know we've discussed this before. My GI doc did agree that Prilosec/Nexium *would* interfere with iron absorption. In order to get iron out food, you need stomach acid. With Prilosec/Nexium you get reduced stomach acid, therefore, you get reduced iron absorption. It can also block the iron absorption of supplements. So, I try to take my Spatone Iron (which is gentle on my stomach) when I *think* that my Prilosec is wearing off. I also try to eat a grapefruit or orange with it to give some acid and Vitamin C. For the first 6 weeks I was on it, it seemed to be working as the actual anemia corrected itself. I got a very big jump in my hematocrit. I think I went from a 34 to a 37. As for my ferritin, I am told that this could take years to go up.

    So, I think that the Prilosec/Nexium is ONE component of my iron deficiency. I don't think it is the total cause. Many, many people take this drug every day and do not get this. So, there has to be other factors involved. My period is heavy, but not terribly so. But maybe combined with the Prilosec, the two factors equate to anemia. So, I am considering going to my GYN and getting a Mirena IUD inserted. This will reduce and/or stop any menstrual bleeding for 5 years. You know, it just cannot hurt my situation.

    Lastly, I have totally stopped all NSAIDS use. My endoscopy last week showed stomach bleeding. I had been a fairly heavy Motrin user (for years) and I think I was getting bleeding from that also. So, there are three things there causing bleeding. If I could "fix" just one of those things, I think it would go a long way toward improving my iron stores.

    Pika, have you tried any of these things?

    fjones--I see you are in Washington, DC??? Have you found a good doctor to help you with this. I am still at the GP stage of things (and the gastro doc of course) but am wondering if there are any good hemotologists out there in case I need one. I have to agree that I think, number 1, my job has been affected the most by this. It is just so hard to tell, though, as I have been in the same job for 15 years and am bored with it anyway. But, now it is to a new level of boredom and I think part of that is my medical condition.

     
    Old 02-24-2007, 06:59 AM   #7
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    Hi. Actually I just live in the Washington DC metro area. I actually live in Gaithersburg, MD. I found a hematologist here in Gaithersburg who has been treating me. I was referred to her by my thyroid doctor because I thought my anemia symptoms were my hypothyroid acting up again. She sent me straight to the hematologist after looking at my labs. The hematologist told me to just take iron to bring my levels up. My ferritin started out at 4 when I first saw her. In about 6 months of the iron it went up to 23. I had to try all different kinds of iron because she didn't specify any kind and I couldn't tolerate most irons, ferrous sulphate just eats my stomach up and runs right through me. I don't see how people take it. Thank god for Spatone, which I had to find on my own. Anyway, my ferretin has been holding at 23 for a while, but I still feel terrible. Not as tired, but many other symptoms, dizzy, short of breath, heart palpatations. She insists the low ferritin and low iron levels won't cause this and she's sent me for every other test under the sun, but none of the other doctors can find anything serious. So I'm stuck with just trying to raise my ferritin levels. That's why this is so frustrating. By the way, aren't you still anemic if your ferretin is at 5? Doesn't it have to be in the normal range, 10-291 to not be considered anemic, along with your hemaglobin?

     
    Old 02-24-2007, 07:15 AM   #8
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fjones1 View Post
    By the way, aren't you still anemic if your ferretin is at 5? Doesn't it have to be in the normal range, 10-291 to not be considered anemic, along with your hemaglobin?

    No, if your hematocrit, hemoglobin, and RBC are all within the normal range, then you are not anemic--no matter what your iron situation. If those counts are normal, but your ferritin and iron saturation are below normal, you are then just considered iron deficient (without the anemia). From all the informal research I've done, some in the medical field believe that iron deficiency is a much larger/bigger problem then most doctors realize. Since no one really tests anyone's iron until the anemia shows up, no one really knows for sure how many people walk around iron deficient.

    There is a pattern to iron deficiency anemia that is well documented. The first stage is some form of iron deficit (either by diet or by bleeding). For awhile this goes on and then iron stores start to drop. At this point, there is no anemia because we have lots of iron stores. The iron, over a period of probably years, gradually drops. When it gets to a point where it is very low or almost nothing, the anemia starts because your red blood cells have no more to draw on. So, anemia is the very last stage of iron deficiency. Correcting it works in reverse. With iron supplementation, the red blood cells quickly use that new iron and the anemia part often corrects in a matter of weeks to months, however, the iron stores take *forever* to build up. You have to realize that your body is using the Spatone that you drink every day. It uses it. If there is *any* leftover after what your body needs for that day, it will go into storage. This is why building up the stores is so slow. What also doesn't help is if you don't correct the cause of your iron loss. So you are constantly doing a battle to see if you can put more iron into your body than you are losing AND using. Does that make sense?

    Have you determined why you have this? Is it from menstrual flow? Also, have you taken more than one packet of Spatone a day? I have not yet done that but am considering it. The Spatone literature suggests that you may do this if you want faster results and if you can tolerate that much.

    Also, like you, I tried several different supplements (one from Whole Foods, one drugstore brand, and a plain One-A-Day vitamin). They tore my stomach up so bad that I was in misery. I don't know how people can take them either. My mom took Vitron C for years and never had a stomach issue with it--just constipation.

     
    Old 02-24-2007, 10:29 PM   #9
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
    No, if your hematocrit, hemoglobin, and RBC are all within the normal range, then you are not anemic.
    My RBC is always in the normal range. Just in the middle of the range 4.55 (3.80-5.80). Other than this, my platelets and WCC is not highlighted. The rest are all highlighted with stars. Am I anemic or not? No wonder the Dr said I can live with it.......

     
    Old 02-25-2007, 05:50 AM   #10
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pika View Post
    My RBC is always in the normal range. Just in the middle of the range 4.55 (3.80-5.80). Other than this, my platelets and WCC is not highlighted. The rest are all highlighted with stars. Am I anemic or not? No wonder the Dr said I can live with it.......
    What are the values of your hematocrit and hemoglobin? If either of them are low, then you still have anemia. Usually doctors look at the three tests (hematocrit, hemoglobin, RBCs) and go from there, but having one of these below normal indicates an anemia. If I'm not mistaken, hematocrit is just a number derived from a formula (I think it is your hemoglobin divided by your RBCs or something like that).

     
    Old 02-26-2007, 03:11 AM   #11
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    My Haemoglobin : 7.8 g/dl (11.5-16.5)
    Packed cell volume (PCV) (hematocrit) : 27.7% (37.0-47.0)

    They are out of range a little bit but RBC is in normal range. I got enough blood, am I? Am I still anemic or not? Not to worry as most of the doctor said?

    Thanks for looking that for me.

     
    Old 02-26-2007, 05:12 AM   #12
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pika View Post
    My Haemoglobin : 7.8 g/dl (11.5-16.5)
    Packed cell volume (PCV) (hematocrit) : 27.7% (37.0-47.0)

    They are out of range a little bit but RBC is in normal range. I got enough blood, am I? Am I still anemic or not? Not to worry as most of the doctor said?

    Thanks for looking that for me.
    Oh, you're definitely anemic. I'm just surprised that your RBC count is normal. It usually lines up with the other two tests. Just out of curiosity, what is your MCV value?

     
    Old 02-27-2007, 01:13 AM   #13
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    I give you the whole lot of my result so you might be able to help me: What's wrong with my blood? Is a disease there or I could be borned like that?

    Haemoglobin : 7.8 g/dL (11.5 - 16.5)
    WCC : 7.9 x10 9/L (4.0 11.0)
    Platelets : 277 x109/L (150 450)
    PCV : 27.7 % (37.0 - 47.0)
    RCC : 4.55 x1012/L (3.80 - 5.80)
    MCV : 61 fL (80 - 96)
    MCH : 17.1 pg (27.0 - 32.0)
    MCHC : 28.2 g/dL (32.0 - 36.0)

    May I ask? Which one is the transport of oxygen in our body? Do I have enough there?

    Thanks for looking at that for me.

     
    Old 02-27-2007, 05:53 AM   #14
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    RBCs transport the oxygen but I don't see that you have a test for that. I also don't see Hematocrit either. Just hemoglobin.

    Your MCV is the size of your red blood cells. As you see your size is very small which is a BIG indicator of iron deficiency.

    You need to figure out if the iron deficiency is from a blood loss somewhere or if you have a bone marrow disease issue which would cause it.

     
    Old 02-27-2007, 03:52 PM   #15
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    Re: Low Ferritin

    Hematocrit = PCV, this lab used PCV instead of hematocrit. Women's hospital uses Hematocrit.

    RBC = RCC (Red cell count). Again women's hospital use RBC.

    I got the FBE in both within 3 days. Non of them taking action and give me any instruction to follow up! For me, I think they're all reakon it is normal. I just wondering around. Oh! I should say floating around, not walking. I look like living in the spaceship!

     
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