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  • Just Diagnosed Anemic - help

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    Old 02-27-2009, 02:28 PM   #1
    tamrabbit
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    Just Diagnosed Anemic - help

    Hi, I'm female, 28, vegetarian, and runner. I am on birth control and have very light periods. I tried to donate blood last week but was turned away and went to my doctor's to get it checked out (I donated 6 weeks prior and was fine). I do have some symptoms, including hair loss, difficulty sleeping, night sweats occasionally, and cold hands/feet.

    Here are my recent test results form the doctor:

    Iron, Total 28 (40-175 normal)
    Iron Binding Capacity 447 (250-450 normal)
    % Saturation 6 (15-50 normal)

    CBC
    White Blood Cell Count 3.9 (3.8-10.8 normal)
    Red Blood Cell Count 4.02 (3.80-5.10 normal)
    Hemoglobin 11.7 (11.7-15.5 normal)
    Hematocrit 34.2 (35.0-45.0)

    Ferritin 7 (10-154)


    I am really frustrated with my doctor because I went in a year ago because of the hair loss issue and he only did the normal blood test and my hemoglobin and hematocrit were within range so he said my iron wasn't an issue. Now a year later my ferritin levels seem pretty depleted although my hemoglobin and hematocrit levels don't seem that bad. The nurse gave me the results over the phone and told me the doctor wants me to take 300mg of over-the-counter Iron Sulfate pills once a day and to come and get retested in 3 months.

    Should I be more concerned about my iron deficiency and what the cause is and switch doctors or proceed with the doctor's recommendation? I was really sick a few months ago - severe abdominal pain and high-grade fever - the doctor said it was 'just the flu'. A few days later I was in the ER on IV which they thought was a kidney infection and treated me with antibiotics. I eventually got better although I did have night sweats for a week or two after the ER visit. When I was back in at the doctor's office they told me that my cultures never grew from the ER so it definitely wasn't a kidney infection and they are not really sure what that was about. My bloodwork from the ER visit was all off, high WBC, low hemaglobin, low hematocrit - I don't know if there is any correlation between me being sick then and the anemia now. The doctor did take a chest x-ray when I was there to rule out something (TB and lymphoma I think?) and it came out clean.

    Anyways, any advice on how to proceed or recommendations on what OTC iron supplements I should take would be appreciated. THANKS!

     
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    Old 02-28-2009, 07:07 AM   #2
    tricia906
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    Re: Just Diagnosed Anemic - help

    Hi TamRabbit,

    I have had a VERY similar experience.
    Personally, I think you're Dr is right............You need to take the Iron. Your RBC & HEMOGLBN are just at the beginning of being anemic. (You are right, it's not that low) but if you dont take the Iron you WILL become Anemic, or shall I say more anemic. Thus having to take 2 iron pills/day......

    Your Ferritin is the stores of Iron that your body holds. Yours is 7, like ALL people with Iron deficiancy anemia, this # will be LOW!! Dont worry about that. That will go up too eventually, after being on Iron pills.

    You are a vegitarian. It makes sense to me that you are low on Iron. Plenty of Vegitarians are! My pharmacist is & she says she has to take Iron all the time. Not saying you do but just making my point.

    DONT start thinking Lymphoma..........It doesnt present itself in the bloodwk, this way. Its more to do w/ the WBC. I too went through the nightsweats & even low grade fevers for a few weeks (Im 38) & had to rule out Lymphoma. They checked your chest, this was good but as I said, it doesnt present itself in the bloodwk as yours. Dont go there.

    I think you're fine........I personally would go back in 2 mo's just to make sure you are absorbing the Iron & that its taking its effect, Other than that.......I wouldn't get crazy.

    Most people just take the Iron & they're fine.

    GL!
    Rachel

    Last edited by tricia906; 02-28-2009 at 07:07 AM.

     
    Old 03-02-2009, 08:56 PM   #3
    FLFLOWERGIRL
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    Re: Just Diagnosed Anemic - help

    tamrabbit--Welcome!

    You have many very common reasons for anemia/low ferritin. It is very common in females to be anemic due to their menstrual cycles, being vegetarian, runners/athletes, and finally the biggest being regular/frequent blood donations.

    You are very mildly anemic. It is your ferritin that needs to be repleted as high as you can get within range of course. It is the ferritin that keeps the Hgb and HCt at normal levels until it is all used up. This is when the anemia sets in the final stage of the ferritin stores.

    IMO FWIW, I would take the iron supplements and then switch doctors in the meantime. This doctor should have checked your ferritin especially with your lifestyle. Since you will be on iron for a while, you may want to ask your pharmacist and run it through your doctor, about going on a GI friendly high dose iron supplement. Keep us posted.
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    Old 03-03-2009, 11:41 AM   #4
    tamrabbit
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    Re: Just Diagnosed Anemic - help

    Thanks everyone.

    FLFLOWERGIRL - Should I not donate blood until I get my ferritin levels up? My doctor was saying runners and vegetarians usually have good iron stores. What a loony! I'm just annoyed that I lost so much hair in the past year that I could've probably stopped earlier. oh well.

    How high of dose do you think is okay.? I got Hemaplex from a vitamin shop. They said it was GI friendly - its 85 mg elemental iron.

    Also, does the low ferritin stores (or maybe its the increased iron I'm taking right now?) cause joint pain and extreme forgetfulness/distraction? My brain is seriously somewhere else the past few days.

     
    Old 03-03-2009, 05:52 PM   #5
    FLFLOWERGIRL
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    Re: Just Diagnosed Anemic - help

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tamrabbit View Post
    Thanks everyone.

    FLFLOWERGIRL - Should I not donate blood until I get my ferritin levels up?
    I try really hard to not ~tell~ people what they should or shouldn't do including diagnose BUT in your case I can say, NO DONATIONS! Donating blood is for a really good cause I know, but for women still having their menstrual cycle it can deplete the iron stores of your body. You don't find out until it's too late and the stores are used up because they don't check this for you at the blood bank. This is how they de-iron people that store too much iron, they prescribe frequent donations or phlebotomy, see what I mean.

    My doctor was saying runners and vegetarians usually have good iron stores.
    It is my understanding that runners and athletes usually have problems with a lowered ferritin. It is also my understanding that vegetarians are at risk for anemia unless they have a very balanced diet and follow it strictly. You know what a task that is. You can read about it and make your own conclusions. I am a "Flexitarian" LOL, (semivegetarian) I follow a plant based diet, but occasionally I do eat small amounts of meat, poultry and fish. My doctors were extremely concerned when they asked me if I ate meat. And they *all* asked that question. There must be something to that.


    What a loony! I'm just annoyed that I lost so much hair in the past year that I could've probably stopped earlier. oh well.


    How high of dose do you think is okay.? I got Hemaplex from a vitamin shop. They said it was GI friendly - its 85 mg elemental iron.
    How much did your doctor recommend? When I was anemic I took 300mgs daily and now as a maintenance dose I take 150 daily. After you resolve the anemia your stores will fill faster than when your whole body is depleted. You should ask your pharmacist and doctor about how much you should be taking daily. A low dose will not fill the stores anytime soon. It can take up to a year.

    Also, does the low ferritin stores (or maybe its the increased iron I'm taking right now?) cause joint pain and extreme forgetfulness/distraction? My brain is seriously somewhere else the past few days.
    This sounds like typical symptoms of lowered ferritin/anemia. I don't think that it is from the iron supplement unless it has a lot of fillers added.

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    Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

     
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