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  • Iron level of 71 is low???

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    Old 05-27-2008, 03:16 PM   #1
    ebon_aurora
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    Iron level of 71 is low???

    Not according to what I've read on the web as well as here. I've been sick for over 2 years with no known cause and just recently my doctor found out that I'm severely vitamin D deficient. When the supplements she prescribed didn't make me feel better she tested my zinc and my iron. According to her they were both low normal with a zinc level of 63 and an iron level of 71. According to what I'm reading here 71 is almost nowhere near being too low for a female. Maybe a male. But my doctor told me that according to the reference range she had that 70 is the absolute lowest. Don't know what the upper limit is though.

    I've been going through the posts here and reading other people's results and not once have I seen a reference range saying that 70 is the absolute lowest for a female. I'm mostly seeing 30 or 50.

    I just think its frustrating because I was glad that there was finally something else to explain why I've been feeling so horrible after all these years. I hate to think she's wrong and that these supplements won't help at all.

    While I'm here, I'd like to ask this...my doctor decided to put me on Tandem F (106 mg of elemental iron and 1mg of folic acid) to treat my "low iron." Lets just say that iron deficiency is the cause for my symptoms. How long will I have to be on the supplement before I feel a difference? I've been on it for a month and still feel the same.

    I would also like to know if anyone else here ever had a value close to mine and how did they feel when it was at that level?

    Thanks, everyone.

    Last edited by ebon_aurora; 05-27-2008 at 04:09 PM.

     
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    Old 05-27-2008, 04:48 PM   #2
    ChristineVA
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    It would be helpful if you could get a hold of that lab report and post the exact name of the test (was it ferritin or serum iron) and also the exact ranges of the test. While most labs follow a similar range for the ferritin test, it could be that the lab you used measures with a different range and the result of 70 might be low. This is just a possibility though as I've not seen anyone here report that as a low-level range. I'd be very uneasy taking iron supplements with a ferritin of 70 and no anemia present.

    As for as *if* the iron was truly an issue, it could take weeks to months to notice some improvement.

     
    Old 05-27-2008, 04:53 PM   #3
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
    It would be helpful if you could get a hold of that lab report and post the exact name of the test (was it ferritin or serum iron) and also the exact ranges of the test. While most labs follow a similar range for the ferritin test, it could be that the lab you used measures with a different range and the result of 70 might be low. This is just a possibility though as I've not seen anyone here report that as a low-level range. I'd be very uneasy taking iron supplements with a ferritin of 70 and no anemia present.

    As for as *if* the iron was truly an issue, it could take weeks to months to notice some improvement.

    My ferritin was fine. It was a serum iron level that was "low". I'll give them a call tomorrow and find out and then I'll post exact levels and ranges. My doc must use a strange lab for them to say that 70 is low normal...

     
    Old 05-28-2008, 04:46 AM   #4
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    Serum iron is not a good indicator for diagnosing iron deficiency anemia. Especially if your ferritin is fine. Taking iron, when not necessary, is not a good thing. I would seriously be questioning this course of action.

     
    Old 05-28-2008, 09:49 AM   #5
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    Well. My symptoms certainly fit. But as I've learned over the years, it could still be any number of things. Oh, well. I just called the doc's office and I should either be hearing from them today or tomorrow. I'll post the levels anyway.

     
    Old 05-29-2008, 04:09 AM   #6
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    ebon aurora - when you say that you have been sick for 2 years, what exactly do you mean by 'sick'? Are you able to name your symptoms?

    With regard to ranges for ferretin, both my past doctor, who treated my low iron, and my current doctor,who is treating my thyroid condition, believe in being over 70 + and preferrable 100 - 125 ug/L. In my case i know they prefer my ferretin to be higher as they believe it's better overall for my thyroid.

    The highest my ferretin got to was 61 and it took me 2 years to get there. The moment i stopped taking daily iron supplements it dropped slightly lower by my next blood test. I did find out though that i had a malabsorbtion issue with iron, iodine and vitamin D, which they believe is due to finding out that my pancreas isn't producing sufficient enzymes to help digest protein so i'm lacking in certain things.

    Being low in vitamin d and iodine wouldn't have helped my thyroid much either. You need sufficient daily vitamin D to help with calcium absorbtion too. You can eat as much dairy as you like, but you wont benefit from all that calcium if you aren't getting sufficient vitamin D every single day. Also, don't OVERLOAD on vitamin D right away because if your calcium is low, taking too high a dosage of vitamin D can have the same effect as insufficient calcium.... it can make your bones brittle. My doctor said it was ok to take more than the recommended amount on the container, but not to exceed it by more than 10 times what it said on the directions. I think my one said to take one capsule daily and my doctor said it was ok to take up to 5 daily in my case as i was severly low.

    Back to you saying that you have felt ill for the last 2 years....... I used to think that simply boosting my ferretin would make me feel fantastic, but even with a ferretin of 61 i ended feeling more and more ill. I didn't feel the type of tiredness i felt when my ferretin was at 8, but i felt a different sort of tiredness. I felt wiped out most days, like i'd been hit by a bus and it wasn't until i went on medication for my thyroid and medication for my adrenal function and enzymes to help food digestion that i now feel a whole world better. Still tire more than 'normal' people, but so much better than prior to taking all the meds.

    Hope you find out what is going wrong

     
    Old 05-29-2008, 07:10 AM   #7
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    Got a call back.

    Serum iron range was 70-180, mine was 71. So there you go. Still hard to believe.

    And Audrey, by sick for two years I mean fatigue, fatigue, fatigue, hair loss (eyebrows, pubic hair) persistent, chronic bacterial vaginosis (I can no longer have sex because for some reason I just can't fight off the infections and for me they are painful) DRY MOUTH, dry eyes, mild vaginal dryness, constipation and most recently muscle pain. The muscle pain got better after I started the Vit D but is still there so I've been diagnosed as having fibromyalgia. Even my nails are different. Not as strong and have tiny vertical lines (ridges) running through them. They used to be so strong and smooth that they looked fake.

    All of this stuff started after a heavy 2 month long drinking binge (alcoholic). I haven't been the same since. But no one has ever heard of not recovering after so long of being abstinent. And no one can figure out what is wrong with me. So, I'm guessing the iron is a last ditch effort??? I don't know.

    I've been checked (however not thoroughly) for lupus, thyroid disease, and sjogren's. All came back negative. Liver and kidney function are fine too.

    Last edited by ebon_aurora; 05-29-2008 at 10:07 AM.

     
    Old 06-03-2008, 05:22 AM   #8
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    Serum iron tells you how much iron is circulating in the body. I'm not sure about your lab range of 70 - 180. Lab results for a full iron test will usually include a number of things. Lab results usually say the word 'ferretin' and the ranges are usually around the 20 mark and upwards to about 291.

    I highly doubt that everything you are going through is purely due to a binge drink you went through, however, the binge drink wouldn't have helped matters.

    Do you know which tests they ran for your thyroid and what your results were? Most of your symptoms sound like the ones you would find on a thyroid list. I am wondering if your doctor, like so many, has simply said your thyroid is fine due to your test results coming back 'within range'. Nobody had a clue my thyroid was out until finally one good doctor demanded a Thyroid Antibodies test and my antibodies were extremely high and it was realised that i had Hashimotos. For the past 10 years my TSH has been at 1.01 then up to virtually 4, then back down to 2.20 then up to 3.7, sort of like a roller coaster, but i kept being told i was fine. Nobody cared my hair was shedding, my menstrual cycles were all over the place, i couldnt fall pregnant and felt extremely tired.

    More and more people are finding out that their TSH figure doesn't have to be sky high to be affected by thyroid type symptoms.

    If you are low in vitamin D it is likely you could be low in other things. You mentioned bad nails, have you had your zinc tested? If your thyroid is playing up or if your body is having difficult absorbing vitamins/minerals, get your iodine tested while you are at it. My iodine was extremely low and i had to go on supplements.

    Have you been tested for gluten intolerance? That can cause malabsorbtion of vitamins and minerals which can make you ill too.

    I too fore some reason went through a few years worth of bacterial vaginosis as well. Mine were mostly flaring up somewhere between ovulation and my period starting. I couldn't link anything to it and it roughly began a year and a half after i began shedding my hair and my periods went all over the place. A number of doctors said it was a hormonal issue. If you check out the Women's Health section of the Healthboard you will notice a heap of women keep getting recurring BV infections and nobody knows why.

    For me, i went to have a routine papsmear last year and i lucked on one of their best doctors at the clinic. I told her my situation and she said it wasn't normal. She put me on a different type of antibiotic than what would normally be given, saying there are too many varying strains of bacteria in the body and doctors don't have a specific antibiotic for each form of bacteria. She also told me that my parnter should get a swab done of his urethral opening, saying that in men a form of bacteria can live there and no symptoms will show up. My partner had that done and he had no bacteria there. Either the antibiotics worked or the fact that my iron levels went up and my over all health was improving and my vitamin/mineral malabsorbtions were being corrected, who knows, but i don't get the BV the way i used to. If i get it now, it's the slightest hint or not at all, and only leading up to my period (sorry to be graphic, but i knew when i had it b/c there would be an over powering amonia type scent).

    It's also wise to double check that it is definitely BV. Get a gyno to run all the various tests for the various strains of bacteria, yeast infection etc etc. yeast can make things 'dry' down there too. If you have a yeast overgrowth in the gut, it can lead to problems everywhere. It will cause muscle deterioration in females in severe cases and will effect the heart in males. It will cause malabsorbtion of vitamins from the food you eat, will cause irritable bowel, will cause chronic fatigue. About 13 years ago i had a chronic overgrowth of yeast in the gut but didn't know. I kept getting back to back yeast infections, but wouldn't have known it until i would have sex. I never had itching or discharge from the yeast infection, just a dryness during sex and it felt like my insides where red raw. It was the most amazing pain. I soon learnt that treating the vaginal area was like a bandaide solution. The yeast needed to be treated in the gut.

    Once again, finding a good doctor was the key. I found one who treated it from the inside out. I had to take a good probiotic, went on a special and strict diet and some vitamins. In a month i was fixed and all the vaginal issues were gone.

    Lastly, and most important of all, do you have a copy of your test results? It is absolutely vital to keep your own copy so that you can do research of your own if you feel your doctor isn't doing the right thing by you. I have all my test results from 1998 onwards and now that i know so much more about how things work in my body, these test results make for some very interesting reading and show up how utterly incompetent my ex-doctor was. Shame i wasted 8 years on him!!

    The problem is that so many illnesses share so many similar symptoms and when doctors keep telling you your results are fine then something begins to smell. You are doing the right thing into looking into this. Hope you get some answers soon as it's no fun living with all the symptoms you are going through. Take care

    Last edited by Audrey-B; 06-03-2008 at 05:28 AM.

     
    Old 06-04-2008, 04:37 PM   #9
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    Wow. Thanks for the lengthy response! You had some questions so I'll shed some light on them. First of all, yes I did have my zinc checked as well and it was low-normal. I've been on zinc and iron for over a month now. I've also had an antibody test for Hashimoto's and that was negative. Had my tsh tested several times and it ranges anywhere between .35 and .6. Usually around .35 or .45. I guess thats not enough of a difference to warrant further investigation. And I know for a fact that I have bv. I've been living with it for a year and a half now and have had it confirmed literally at least 15 or so times. Yeah, I go to the doctor for it to be sure that's what it is, and every time its BV. I have seen an article thats all over the internet that says that BV infections can be a sign of subclinical iron deficiency in early pregnancy, but I wonder if that can apply to all women. Because I'm not nor have I ever been pregnant. I've also been tested for candida overgrowth b/c my mom had that problem and she too kept getting the yeast infections and just felt like crap constantly. She's hypothyroid too. :-/ Anyway, that too was negative. Everything you mentioned I've been tested for at least once. Most of them I've been tested for more than once.

    At this point I'm convinced that its a case of undiagnosed Sjogren's syndrome. I just have to keep waiting for that positive ANA or Sed rate (both came back negative). I'm so dry in comparison to what I used to be. Everything is dry. Mouth, eyes, vagina, skin, even nasal passages.

    Do you know anything about Sjogren's?

    And PLEASE tell me if you remember what the antibiotic was for your bv. If you can't would you mind finding out some how? I would be so grateful!

    Last edited by ebon_aurora; 06-04-2008 at 04:38 PM.

     
    Old 06-06-2008, 04:36 AM   #10
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    Well i guess you can rule out the thyroid at least. I don't know anything about Sjogren's syndrom, but have heard of it. I'm quite sure someone on the anemia board either has it or thought they might have it. Can't recall who that was though. Guess you could start a new thread and ask whether anybody with low iron has Sjorgen's as well.

    That is interesting about BV possibly being linked to low iron. I had NEVER had BV and out of the blue it started. I'll never forget the first time i had it. I couldn't believe the odour. It was odd that at times the odour was foul, yet at other times it was more chemical smelling. I don't recall which antibiotic i used, but the doctor did say that you should never eat dairy products at same time as taking antibiotics as it makes them less effective. I also used a probiotic in conjunction with the antibiotic and i never got any yeast infections.

    I will see if there is a way of finding out about which antibiotic it was. I do remember her saying that she would try something different and she gave me an antibiotic which she said is usually used with HPV. She said that when taking antibiotics for BV you shouldn't use the same ones back to back, you should try to trick the BV by using a different type of antibiotic. This same theory goes for yeast infections too, never use the same types of pessaries or creams for yeast. Those oral med's for yeast never worked for me, neither did those short terms treatments. The old style 7 day messy treatments worked best.

    If i may ask, could you be affected by condoms or personal lubricants you might be using?

    I too have never been pregnant and i too felt that it was either the antibiotic or my rise in iron which helped with my BV situation. One doctor did once tell me BV occured to every woman prior to getting her period, but that some women had it so so slightly that they didn't even know and some had it strongly and knew they had it and that it was all hormonal. Now my hormones are definitely out and i found that out via a saliva test which was carried out between 6am through to 10pm. My hormones were so out that it was messing up my monthly cycles and the BV began close to a year after my cycles messed up.

    Have you had your hormone levels checked out? Blood tests aren't the best for this, the saliva test done over a long period are the best. My doctor gave me a kit to take home and then once completed i posted it off to the lab. Messed up hormones can play such havoc with other areas of health.

    Don't give up and hope you get answers soon. If i can find out which antibiotic i was on i will post it on here ok. Take care

     
    Old 06-07-2008, 02:03 PM   #11
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    I've had blood tests for hormones and my estrogen is always normal. But my testosterone is always high. But that's because I have PCOS. Maybe I do just need to let the doctors convince me to go on the pill...What did you do to treat your hormone levels? And which hormones were out of whack? Were they too low? Too high? Thanks again!

    I want to add that I'm 22 years old and all of my doctors have told me that chronic bv is not associated with PCOS. Although the bv started when my PCOS symptoms started to develop...

    Last edited by ebon_aurora; 06-07-2008 at 02:10 PM.

     
    Old 06-09-2008, 03:44 PM   #12
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    As my monthly cycles were all over the place i had to do something and i felt whatever was wrong with me, going on the pill would only mask what was wrong, rather than fix it. I did try 3 various forms of the pill and each had very bad side effects for me and i've never been back on the pill since.

    I found a naturopath who made up a herbal liquid tonic which i took day and night. It helped greatly in making my cycles regular, but every time i tried to go off it my cycles would begin messing up again, so i stayed on it and began looking at what else could be the cause.

    After i had a hormone saliva test it all became clear. Basically you give a saliva sample at various times of the day and it is a much better way of getting a clear picture of what is going on with your hormones. Years ago i did blood tests for my hormones and they always came back saying all was fine. I did the saliva test earlier this year and my testosterone is a little high, but my estrogen is double what it ought to have been, something called E3 was low as well as my DHEA-S which are the cortisol levels for my adrenal function. (can't recall is E3 was progesterone as he highlighted low progesterone on my paperwork - will have to look that one up - too many things to look up )

    My doctor gave me lists of symptoms and for excess testosterone it said you could have any of these symptoms: Acne, deepening voice, irritability/moodiness, loss of scalp hair, male pattern hair growth, PCOS, hypoglycaemia, ovarian cysts, insomnia.

    I'm still in the process of treating all my issues. I have been on meds for i think 7 weeks now. If you have thyroid problems you can also have hormone imbalance issues and they now believe this is what my hormone problem is a result of. The thyroid has a very important job and if it cant perform it's job then a heap of other things don't function correctly.

    I had an external and internal ultrasound and i don't have any problems with my uterus or ovaries or anything else and they say everything is looking perfect. So that rules out any internal issues and as i said, the only link they can find is the thyroid related one.

    I'm now glad the pill gave me all those side effects each time. If the pill had worked, i would have stayed on it and would possibly never have found out what the real cause of my messed up cycles was, especially as my cycles used to be perfect.

    The problem with BV is that nobody really knows why that happens. Different doctors give different reasons and some doctors have no idea at all. I thought it was only sexually active women who were suffering with it, but on the Womens health section of the board there were a few ladies who were not sexually active and had problems with it. I'm beginning to wonder that it could really be linked to a hormonal imbalance and when you look at it, way too many females have a hormonal imbalance these days.

    You are too young to be having all these issues, but at least you are attempting to do something about them sooner than later. How do they treat PCOS these days? I hope you get some answers soon.

     
    Old 06-17-2008, 12:57 AM   #13
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    Re: Iron level of 71 is low???

    Ebon aurora - Wouldn't you know it, after discussing BV on here i end up with it and i haven't had it in about a year!!

    Today i saw a different doctor at the clinic and she says all women have it, only some get the symptoms more so than others. I had been told this by another doctor a couple of years ago. I told her that most times i get BV it is accompanied by an 'amonia' type smell. She said that is the natural smell from "down there". I asked why doesn't it ALWAYS smell that way down there. She said if i'm always getting BV inbetween ovulation and my period starting, then it must be due to hormonal change.

    The reason for me coming to post back on here is that i went to the Womens health section of the boards and there is a sticky note there by a poster regarding BV and how she treated hers. She did some research and BV is apparently a disturbance of the natural flora in the vaginal area. This is also what my doctor today said. My doctor today also told me that just because you take antibiotics doesn't mean it has been successfully treated.

    For the BV she gave me Metronidazole (5 tablets which are taken as one single dose).

    She also took a look at my cervix as we had had issues with my pap tests last year due to it bleeding every time they tried to do a pap test and the fact i suddenly began getting a lot of BV incidences out of the blue a few years back. She put me on a HPV type of medication used i think to treat pelvic inflammatory disease. Not that i had any of these conditions, but she said it can be used to treat many other things as there are so many varieties of bacteria and not every form of bacteria has had it's own antibiotic formualted. I can't recall the name of the one i was given last year, but they put me on one again today and it's called Doxycycline. It can't be taken within 2 hours of taking dairy products, antacids, iron or calcium, but must be taken with food. I think it will be a tricky 7 days with this particular antibiotic.

    Last year they also advised my partner to get a gram stain test of his urethral opening as apparently men can carry a form of bacteria, which gives them no symptoms what so ever, but can cause problems for females vaginally. He tested negative.

    At the end of the day i think the BV could be mostly hormonal in my instance. I began shedding hair in Jan 2001, then my cycles went all over the place later that year, then in 2002 i had my first ever bout of BV and have had it off and on since then. I know my hormones are out due to my thyroid, but am wondering when my hormones settle whether my BV will lessen. It has in fact lessened in the last year compared to previous years.

    Hoping you are keeping well

     
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