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  • To treat or not to treat?

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    Old 03-17-2009, 01:28 PM   #1
    heather82
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    To treat or not to treat?

    Is not treating anemia/low ferritin dangerous? Will prolonged and untreated anemia cause any damage to the body that cannot be reversed?

    Is there any chance that anemia/low ferritin will resolve itself without treatment?

    I found out I was borderline anemic/iron deficient almost two years ago after complaining I still felt unwell weeks after a bad chest infection. The reason I am asking these questions is because my doctor told me that it is not necessary to treat borderline anemia, and that a low ferritin cannot cause any symptoms on its own and does not require treatment. After reading all the posts on this forum, I was wondering why my doctors thinking seems to be so far off from everyone elses! Almost two years later I still feel terrible - migraines, dizziness, hot flashes, cold hands and feet, exhaustion, shakiness, etc. My doctor seems to think my symptoms are due to anxiety and depression.

     
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    Old 03-18-2009, 09:42 AM   #2
    FLFLOWERGIRL
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    Re: To treat or not to treat?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by heather82 View Post
    Is not treating anemia/low ferritin dangerous? Will prolonged and untreated anemia cause any damage to the body that cannot be reversed?
    There are risks associated with long term anemia.

    Is there any chance that anemia/low ferritin will resolve itself without treatment?
    Yes, it can depending on the reason why. It is common for women to be anemic around the time of their period, and if they are taking in enough iron and absorbing well with no other problems, then many can resolve on their own, but it can be a monthly occurrence. Iron supplementation may curb this too.

    I found out I was borderline anemic/iron deficient almost two years ago after complaining I still felt unwell weeks after a bad chest infection. The reason I am asking these questions is because my doctor told me that it is not necessary to treat borderline anemia, and that a low ferritin cannot cause any symptoms on its own and does not require treatment.
    Many doctors do subscribe to this philosophy. Do research this. I have been told this too and they look at me like I am. I can only go by my own experience really. I know that when I hit 50'ish ferritin things really got better for me, and this is what they say at least 50 to be healthy. I still wonder myself at times if there are any true symptoms of a low ferritin because my son has a 50 ferritin and my husband has a 20 ferritin and neither ever get symptoms, so, it really makes me wonder too. Although your right we here say there are definite symptoms associated with a low ferritin. It's hard to say what is low iron and what are low ferritin symptoms. So, personally for me I look at it both ways and have to wonder myself sometimes? I could go on forever on this subject it is quite controversial among doctors. I still believe that there are for me as an individual. As for not treating a low ferritin, that's CRAZY! The end stage of the ferritin store, (which is iron in containment in bone marrow and organs) is ANEMIA and who wants that if they can help it.


    After reading all the posts on this forum, I was wondering why my doctors thinking seems to be so far off from everyone elses! Almost two years later I still feel terrible - migraines, dizziness, hot flashes, cold hands and feet, exhaustion, shakiness, etc. My doctor seems to think my symptoms are due to anxiety and depression.
    It may be anxiety and depression or not. I was tested for these through my Neurologist after being told mine was from depression and that I needed a Hysterectomy by my Hematologsit. I knew better, follow your intuition and be tested for it, if in doubt. Be sure to have your thyroid checked out, if you haven't already. And...your ferritin too is very important. Many of your symptoms are cross over symptoms, that may be do to either or both conditions. You can always raise your levels and see what symptoms you are left with and them you will know what you are dealing with. Take care.
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    Old 03-18-2009, 11:50 AM   #3
    herekittykitty
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    Re: To treat or not to treat?

    My doctor seems to think my symptoms are due to anxiety and depression

    I hear this over and over from people (especially women), that this is what their doctors have said. I heard this myself from one of my doctors. IMO, it's dismissive and not appropriate and I think they say this because they don't really know what is wrong and don't want to take the time to find out! It's easier to write a prescription for an antidepressant than to really find out what is wrong. I know for myself that I felt like something was physically wrong with me. I'm not saying people can't be depressed and need medication for it, but when someone is saying to their doctor something is physically wrong with me and they won't order the appropriate testing and just write it off as depression, that angers me! (stepping down off the soap box now).

     
    Old 03-20-2009, 02:02 PM   #4
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    Re: To treat or not to treat?

    FLFLOWERGIRL - I did already get my thyroid checked about a year and a half ago. I was told that my TSH was "quite" high, but that as long as my thyroid was still functioning properly it was nothing to worry about. From what I read here, there seems to be a few schools of thought on that as well.

    herekittykitty - I feel the same way. I will never understand why doctors (even female ones!!!) think that women are all suffering from some kind of mental illness. And then when we try to argue the diagnosis, we are told we are in denial! It angers me even more that blood tests and x-rays can show real physical abnormalities and they still think it's all in your head!

     
    Old 03-21-2009, 11:58 PM   #5
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    Re: To treat or not to treat?

    I went to a Trichologist for my abnormal hair shedding. As soon as he saw how low my ferritin was an for how long he desperately tried to raise my ferritin as soon as possible as he said long term low iron does affect the thyroid.

    I did find out later that i had Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Low iron levels as well as low Vit D tends to be linked with thyroid issues.

    Personally i'd NEVER stay anemic or with low ferritin levels knowingly. I'd be doing everything in my power to raise it. Low iron levels affect everybody individually but generally people feel tired and lethargic, lack motivation, stop socialising, feel dizzy, heart palpitations, make you feel depressed etc etc These are just things which you can actual feel, but what about the things which low iron cause and you don't feel? or don't feel until it's too late?

     
    Old 03-22-2009, 02:33 PM   #6
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    Re: To treat or not to treat?

    Heather,
    I'm no expert but all I can say is that when my blood tests showed a low ferritin of 5 in august 08, my GP sent me off to the gastro for testing to see if there was any internal bleeding and I had to have a colonoscopy (even though I had one less than 3years ago in December 06) and a capsule endoscopy. When they were normal, I was sent to a hematologist who did lots of bloodwork on a Thursday and called me up on my cell phone on a Saturday morning (boy was I nervous when she called - thinking the worse of course - what doctor calls you on a Saturday?!?!?!?) to tell me that I need to start taking iron right away. I'm sorry that your doctor is not treating you better and that you are still feling miserable.
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