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Wynslett 05-03-2009 11:48 AM

Iron Deficiency, Pernicious Anemia, or just going crazy?
Hi all-
I am new to this message board.

I'm trying to figure out what could be wrong with me! I wanted to post my symptoms and a few of my lab results and see if anyone can relate to this.

I am a 41 year old female and for the past few months I have been suffering from severe anxiety and depression. A severe panic attack ( I almost fainted in the grocery store) sent me to the ER where they discovered I was anemic. I was told by my PCP to take Slow Fe iron supplements 2 times a day which I have been faithfully. I just had additional blood work done yesterday and I was able to view my results online this morning. (gotta love that 1 thing about Kaiser) Now mind you I have not talked to my PCP about this, but I am a hypochondriac and always jump to the worst case scenario. I will be in contact with her tomorrow. My CBC counts are as follows:

WBC COUNT 7.8 Normal range: 3.5-12.5 K/uL
RED BLOOD CELLS COUNT 4.72 Normal range: 3.60-5.70 M/uL
HGB 12.4 Normal range 11.5-15.0 g/dL
HEMATOCRIT 39.1 Normal range 34.0-46.0 %
MCV 83 Normal range 80-100 fL
RDW, RBC 18.5 Normal range 11.9-14.3 %
PLATELETS COUNT 216 Normal range 140-400 K/uL

What does the RDW mean? That was the only thing that was out of range. When I try to research it, it always mentions Pernicious Anemia as a possible cause. Should I ask for some other types of tests? Could I be low on B-12 indicating Pernicious Anemia?

I started feeling bad around the beginning of this year. I started having severe days and weeks of persistant anxiety which has lead to severe depression. I worry endlessly about my health. I have been seeing a therapist and have tried a few anti-depressants which only send me in a downward spiral. I am not on any anti-depressants as I feel they make me worse. I do take an occasional xanax, but have found that lately I am needing to take more just to "get through the day". My physical symptoms are muscle aches (muscle enzyme test came back normal). My mid back has hurt for 3 months now, Dr says probably due to depression, anxiety, and poor posture. I get muscle aches that travel around my body and dissapear within a few days. For a few weeks on and off I have had slight pins and needles feelings in my hands, legs and feet, they never last long, only a few minutes. Thrusday I woke up with a numb spot on the top of my left foot between my big toe and second toe. This comes and goes as well. Occasionally I have a shaky hand when I reach for something, Dr. says "it's just your nerves" I have very heavy periods which Dr. says is probably causing my anemia. A rectal smear in the ER revealed there was no bleeding from that end...LOL I was never really told what "type" of anemia I have, just to take the iron pills so I assumed it was an iron deficiency. I also get horrible heart palpitaions. However 4 EKG's since February all show a normal heart. (see, 1 EKG wasn't enough for this hyprochodriac) A 24 hour holter monitor back in 2006 showed the same. It seems my Dr. wants to blame all of my problems on my anxiety and is really pushing my to ask the Psychiatrist to try me on some other types of meds for anxiety and drepression. What if my anxiety and depression are from something actually wrong with me and not "all in my head" I feel like I'm going crazy and want some answers. Does anyone have any suggestions what I should ask the Dr. for next in the way of tests? I'm really not in a very good place right now, I have type 2 diabetes as well and all of these other symptoms are making it hard for me to concentrate on caring for myself the way I need to. I am a mother and a wife and I work full time but everyday is a struggle and I feel like I'm falling aprat. Thanks for listening, I appreciate any replies.


FLFLOWERGIRL 05-04-2009 08:29 PM

Re: Iron Deficiency, Pernicious Anemia, or just going crazy?
Beth--Welcome to the Anemia Board! :wave:

Sorry that you are having such a difficult time with things. According to your labs you are no longer considered anemic, so you have made some really positive progress in that department.

You didn't mention your ferritin (iron stores,) so I presume that you have also had this test in the past. Anemia is the end stage of ferritin stores, and if you were anemic, then you most likely also had a very low ferritin count as well. Ferritin can be responsible for anxiety, depression, fatigue and hair loss to mention a few. Many doctors' say that there are no symptoms with a low ferritin, but the jury is out on this one it's about 50/50 :dizzy:. If you have always had issues with anxiety in the past, then I would say that it is probably a separate issue from anemia/ferritin for you, but at the same time know that some of these symptoms may be brought on by or amplified by low a ferritin/anemia.

Whenever there is anemia present one should always have B-12 and folate levels checked. When there is *concomitant* iron deficiency anemia it can skew the results (MCV) appearing to be a normal value. Consequently, B12 levels should always be checked in anemic patients, whether MCV is normal or not. If you have not had this test, you may want to ask for it just to rule out such a deficiency. Many times this can go undetected if not checked.

Hang in will feel a bit better as your numbers rise but it does take a long time so try to be patient. Take care and do keep us posted. FLFG

bertwindon 05-05-2009 09:27 AM

Re: Iron Deficiency, Pernicious Anemia, or just going crazy?
I get "run-down" ( but I get up again !) and wake in the night until early morning and then get some sleep making a late start to the day. My day is very tough on my own (but for 6 cats and 3 dogs) and an old house and Garden to try to give some sustainable kind of future to etc. etc.
Then it dawns upon me. Of course ! - it's my old foe Iron deficiency Anemia come back to haunt me ! It can really make a mess of you with no energy, late starts, and everything becoming too much to cope with - then panic attacks as I tell myself to "Don't panic !"
And that is how come I am on this noticeboard. I am looking for a supplier of Ferrous Gluconate, which my doctor prescribed in the early 90's? - and which performed the miracle. I don't believe that the body can make use of
- Sulphate, which is a simple INorganic, ionic compound. Free radicals - such as sulphate ions ? - are known, or very much suspected ? to do untold damage.
Also vit B complex allways a good idea for shaky nerves - Dried Brewer's Yeast. If only I could find some of that, too !
Any help greatly appreciated.
[COLOR="Blue"]* email address removed *[/COLOR]

FLFLOWERGIRL 05-05-2009 07:08 PM

Re: Iron Deficiency, Pernicious Anemia, or just going crazy?
You are correct about FS this is why I take a Poly Iron 150 a Poly Saccharide form of iron that is meant for long term usage. FLFG ;)

shoshanna35 05-13-2009 04:46 AM

Re: Iron Deficiency, Pernicious Anemia, or just going crazy?
Hi beth, someone like me so im not alone. I suffer from anxiety and when stressed this gets worse and i too suffer what i call my hypochondria mood where i worry about all symptoms i have. I have low haemoglobin level at present it is 9, it always is lower than it should be but has gone real low this time. About 12 yrs ago a doctor told me i had an 80% chance of developing pernicious anaemia but since then not one doctor has picked up on this. I feel nuicance asking my doc to do tests again but i am going to see him next week and ask him to do tests for pernicious anaemia because i am worrying myself stupid all the time. I get all sorts of aches and pains in my joints, my shoulder being worst and also pins and needles in fingers and dead limbs at night. Headaches also, keep telling myself it only stress but is it ??. Anyway just wanted you to know there someone else out here with similar probs, take care, susan

redpersian75 06-28-2009 08:01 AM

Re: Iron Deficiency, Pernicious Anemia, or just going crazy?
you are not going mad . I have just been diagnosed with pernicious anemia at 33 and had been suffering unexplained headaches, exhaustion, depression(was put on anti depressants) achy all over, had bike accident due to having a turn which caused me to lose concentration and sort fall asleep on bike and then crashed into curb landed on crash barrier broke a rib was lucky really. That was nearly 2 years ago and have been investigated for sleep disorder, chronic fatigue, asthma (get breathless with this too). My doctor was useless it was a locum who referred me for all these tests. I ended up with a neurologist who took whole medical history and referred for chronic fatigue tests, b12 tests and mri , still waiting to see whether lasting damage has been done. i have checked at doctors and although have been presenting with typical b12 perciaious anemia symptoms for years depsite millions of blood test they did not think to do the one which could have prevented all the . i am now on 1000 mg injections, not sure if this will be enough but still getting loads of symptoms the dizziness, confusion and low moods being the worst. Hang in there and fight for what you need you will get there demand answers i know it not easy . You are not alone. i am still waiting to go for schilling tests to see how well the treatment is being absorbed. was diagnosed a couple of months ago. I have messed up 2 jobs cos of sheer exhaustion but have found a place where they understand the condition now thank goodness. I hope you get the answers you need , good luck hope my take on it has helped

Ashley9045 07-19-2009 07:54 AM

Re: Iron Deficiency, Pernicious Anemia, or just going crazy?
I also have had my bouts of Anemia, low ferritin, low D, low B12 over the past few years due to losing a lot of blood every month from my period. I had surgery and my fibroids removed, and my iron levels are better, but still low in B12 and I feel exhausted all the time, dizzy, and just achy all over. I just started B12 shots and I am wondering when that rises will I feel better. Could you have pernicious anemia and your blood work all be normal? Some days I wake up in the morning and I feel horrible, exhausted, and it almost feels like I have the flu.
Unfortunately, I have to get up for a job and some mornings it is very hard. Any suggestions!!! Is there anything I am missing having checked. Just had a full blood work up and everything seemed to be well except, low b12 and slightly low white blood count.

FLFLOWERGIRL 07-20-2009 08:17 PM

Re: Iron Deficiency, Pernicious Anemia, or just going crazy?
Ashleymichele23--Glad to hear that your iron levels are better. A low B-12 can indeed make you feel just as bad as a low iron/ferritin. It takes time to correct this and when your numbers come up again, you should be feeling better, if this is the problem. It just takes time. It's nothing that happens over night. Take care. FLFG:)

Ashley9045 07-21-2009 03:29 PM

Re: Iron Deficiency, Pernicious Anemia, or just going crazy?
thank you for your response. I finally had a myoectomy in april and they removed 12 fibroids. That was the culprit of all the bleeding and low iron levels, low ferritin etc.... Now i am still vitamin deficient so i am assuming with very low b12 that is why i feel so exhausted all the time. It is just horrible feeling so exhausted, dizzy and just bad all the time. It feels like you have a constant flu and you just cannot recover. I wonder how long it takes for b12 to rise. I had my first shot a month ago and i am getting 2 more and then she said i will then take supplements.

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