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pcutil 08-19-2009 08:23 AM

Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
Hello Friends,

I had my blood work done for the first time and I've been diagnosed with Iron Deficiency Anemia. I'm Male, 32 yrs of age & physically active. Also, I think I may have been iron deficient since a long time.

My 'Ferritin' & 'Iron % Saturation' is really low. However Hemoglobin & Hematocrit looks okay. Isn't it contradictory? I thought if I'm anemic, my Hemoglobin has to be low as well.

I had no blood loss ever, and diet is good enough to meet daily iron needs. So, my doc was also confused that why my iron is so low. He advised me to take iron supplements twice daily for now.

What do you guys recommend? Below are the relevant readings from my blood work report:

*** Iron & TIBC ***
Iron 41 ug/dL Out of Range (45-160)
UIBC 385 ug/dL Out of Range (110-370)
TIBC 426 ug/dL (228-428)
Iron % Saturation 10 % Out of Range (25-45)

*** Ferritin ***
Ferritin 7 ng/ml Out of Range (30-400)

*** CBC w/Diff ***
White Blood Count 5.6 k/ul (3.8-10.8)
Red Blood Count 6.01 m/ul Out of Range (4.20-5.76)
Hemoglobin 15.3 gm/dl (12.5-17.1)
Hematocrit 46 gm/dl (36-50)
MCV 77 fl Out of Range (78-96)
MCH 25 pg Out of Range (26-33)
MCHC 33 g/dl (32.20-35.60)
RDW 15.8 % (13.1-16.8)
Platelet Count 332 k/ul (150-400)
MPV 8 fl (7-12)

Let me know if this info is sufficient.


susieq14 08-20-2009 08:27 PM

Re: Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
Hello and Welcome although I'm sorry that you have had to join us. It is a little unusual for a young male to be diagnosed with IDA so it is good that your doctor is scheduling the colonoscopy. If your ferritin and iron are low it can mean that you are losing blood somewhere through internal bleeding so that is what he wants to check out. You have to find out whay your levels are low. Do you donate blood on a regular basis? Another problem for the IDA is celiac - have they done a celiac blood test on you? you should ask for one. by any chance do you take a PPI? you know like Nexium or Prilosec? it is possible to have malabsorption due to PPI's. Do you know if they tested your B12 levels? that is important to know.

Don't be afraid of the c'scope - it is really not that bad. The prep is not pleasant the day before but the actual procedure will be done while you are sedated (be sure to tell the GI doc that you don't want to be awake) and you will not feel a thing. As soon as I was diagnosed with IDA I was sent for a c'scope even though I had one just 18 months prior. They may also want to do an upper endoscopy to see if there is any bleeding in the stomach. the c'scope doesn't see the stomach.

It is very possible to have low ferritin and iron yet have normal hemotocrit and hemoglobin levels. You are considered clinically anemic when one of the three Hgb, Hct or RBC fall below range. My numbers were similar: ferritin was a 5 and iron was 25, saturation was 5 but H & H were okay.

After the scopes showed no bleeding, they started me on iron supplements: Poly Iron 150 mg tabs two times a day for a total of 300 mg a day. I took them for 5 months from November to April. Since my Ferritin rose to 40 and Iron improved to 55 the Doc said stop the supplements and come back to see me in 6 months. My %Saturation only went to 16 which is up but still not normal but she's the doctor not me. I'm a little concerned obviously because it did not improve and my ferritin is not really that good. According to many of the gals here they say it needs to be well over 50.

Wish you the best - keep asking questions here and at the doctor's office. You need to stay on top of your health and be sure to get copies of all blood tests and reports from procedures like the scopes. It sounds like your doc is on top of things but you can never count on anyone but yourself so you ned to be your own advocate.

Hopefully some of the "experts" will chime in with some advice for you. I'm laearning as I go along.

FLFLOWERGIRL 08-21-2009 10:04 AM

Re: Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
pcutil--Welcome to the boards! :wave:

susieq14-- :bouncing: I hate to say it because I know it is from necessity for you; however, you are becoming quite the pro. I don't think I need to add anything else to your post I think you cover it! It's nice to have you here.

I cannot agree more, as you already know, regarding PPI use. You take care. FLFG:)

susieq14 08-21-2009 12:53 PM

Re: Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
Hello FLFLOWERGIRL and [B]thank you [/B]for making me sound like a pro! I learned it all from you!!!;)

I hope that you are well - I'm doing okay - we're having some tropical Florida type weather here and it is way too humid for me - bothers my asthma. Summer arrived very late in New England this year and now Mother Nature is trying to make up for it I guess. I wish I knew how I was doing blood wise - my 6 month follow-up in October seems so far away yet.

all the best to you!


pcutil 08-21-2009 02:00 PM

Re: Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
Many Thanks for such a detailed reply, Susie. I appreciate your effort. Also, I read some of the posts by FLFLOWERGIRL; she's doing great work as well.

My doc did not recommended me to go for colon-scopy or endoscopy. He asked to take the iron supplements twice daily & come back in 3 months. After that if my numbers did not improve, then he will recommend to go for colon-scopy or endoscopy. Not sure if he is doing the right thing, or should I insist to go for it now?
How serious could it be if there's a blood loss due to either of this? I also read something some colon-cancer, do I need to worry about that?

Also, reason why I said I may have been iron deficient since a long time is because of some of the symptoms I became aware of. I feel the same way (like little tired and all) since more than a decade. And I started loosing my hairs also about a decade back. I still have lots of hairs on my head, but the density is less, and its been same way since a long long time.

Another Question: When your Ferritin rose to 40 and Iron improved to 55, did u feel any real difference in the way you feel? I mean, did you started feeling more energetic & not fatigued, hair-regrowth etc.?

Thanks again!

pcutil 08-21-2009 02:15 PM

Re: Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
Sorry, I missed to answer some of your questions.

Do you donate blood on a regular basis?
No, I don't donate blood on a regular basis.

Another problem for the IDA is celiac - have they done a celiac blood test on you? you should ask for one.
No, may be I'll ask for one

by any chance do you take a PPI? you know like Nexium or Prilosec? it is possible to have malabsorption due to PPI's.
I'm not sure what PPI is, but as you described, I dont think I take any of those.

Do you know if they tested your B12 levels?
They did not tested by B12 level. May be I'll ask for it during next test. If you have some info, could you let me know whats the relation w/ B12?

FLFLOWERGIRL 08-22-2009 12:57 PM

Re: Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
pcutil--Hello again! :wave:

Anemia is [B]ONLY[/B] a [U][B]symptom[/B][/U] not a disease in and of itself. It is telling you that something in your body is not working correctly. You have to find a cause. I was taught that it is not proper to begin iron supplements without first finding a cause for this. That is the first step, next would be to DX and eventually treat according to findings. Blood loss is the most common cause for IDA in women. [U]This is clearly not your case [/U]so it is important to begin looking for the culprit, there is one and you have to find it. It took me over a year to find mine. And I am still not so sure it is a definite cause, who knows? I have to remain on iron for the rest of my life, that is my prescription.

If you are seeing a PCP at this point I would highly recommend that you see a GI doc next. They are the profession that is experienced with types of malabsorption syndromes and other related issues to be ruled out at this time. There are many gastrointestinal conditions. We are just mentioning the most frequent that appear here on the boards. There are (AI's) autoimmune diseases and many things. There is no reason to wait 3 months in my opinion [U]being a male without known blood loss[/U]. Colonoscopy and endoscopy would rule out several things for you and should be one of the steps in diagnosis for you and even perhaps a small bowel study. No, you do not need to worry about colon cancer at this point. It is not just due to blood loss. There are many things that can and do go wrong within the GI tract. When going through these periods of not knowing, and uncertainty, the best practice that I have learned myself is NOT to worry UNTIL you have something to actually WORRY about. This is so true. It will save your sanity many times. So, don't worry about it. Just run tests and learn all that you can. Especially with a long history as you say. Hair loss can be due to many things; low ferritin and protein just to name a couple. However, there can be many causes for this.

Celiac is one of the first things too that should be ruled. Malabsorption is not uncommon in IDA because the iron is absorbed in the duodenum (1st segment of small intestine) and the upper part of the jejunum (2nd segment of small intestine), you should also have your Folic acid levels checked because they are also malabsorbed in Celiac and so is B12 but to a lesser extent. Whenever Anemia is present B-12 and Folate always need to be checked. Many doctors believe it or not, do not always run these tests which are a necessity. I didn't see that you have had these tested either! This is a must.[B] Even if you are not anemic [/B]at this point your ferritin is low for a reason.

You say you are physically active, are you overactive in sports? This can lead to a low ferritn. Use of certain drugs, i.e., advil can cause bleeding in the stomach too, if you use any of those. Any stomach problems?
None of us claim to be doctors, we are only able to give our personal experience and what we have learned from it. You need to consult a specialist to get proper diagnosis. I hope this has helped a little.

We are here for your support. Keep us posted. FLFG:)

FLFLOWERGIRL 08-23-2009 07:56 AM

Re: Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
suzieq14--You are very welcome, but I am not just making you sound this way, you know now. Thanks for giving me credit that's very kind of you, not so sure it's true. You have had to learn too.

Sorry to hear about your FL like weather, I can actually say I know what you mean! I can't be outside for more than 20 minutes myself, can't take it! You know what they say "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature" I think there is truth to that. We have a hurricane out there right now, but I think we are only going to have some bad weather, nothing too exciting here.

I know your 6 month labs are probably really getting to you about now. That type of wait is a long time to get answers. Sometimes, it is worth the wait. Nothing in-between to worry about so to speak. I have special interest in your labs ([U]the possible malabsoprtion PPI use[/U]) and have been waiting to hear your results too. So do post them when you get an update. You take care. FLFG:)

CHICKEN09 08-24-2009 09:46 AM

Re: Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
Hello Everyone

I too am new to this board. I have been anemic since I was a child. Doctor use to say it was because I drank to much milk and the iron nutrients could not take to my system. Now Im 53 went for my yearly physical and my primary doc is telling me that my hemoglobin in 7.3 and iron is very low. He has me going for a colonoscopy and then I have an appointment to meet with a hematogoist. My pcp said that I may need a Iron Transfusion. This sounds pretty scarry. I have read some people who have had this done, that it is not very pleasant after the treatment. Has anyone here had it done? I read that they need a bag of benedryl with the iron and they feel beat up afterwards.
Needless to say I am scared. I have started taking Iron pills and feel an improvement in my energy level. I asked the doctor if I could wait until my next blood work with him to see if my levels have gone up with just the suppliments. He still wants me to go to the hematologist. Im thinking they may even want to do a endoscopy on me which Im not looking forward to either. If anyone can tell me if the endoscopy is not painful and if anyone as had a Iron Transfusion, How they did with this. Thank you so much. THis seem like a great support board.


susieq14 08-24-2009 07:28 PM

Re: Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
I think I agree with FLFG and would ask for the GI testing and additional bloodwork now before you start the supplements. In my case I tried to donate blood on July 2 and was turned away because of my blood levels and was given a note to bring to my PCP. Saw the PCP last week in July and he sent me to the GI who ordered the celiac blood test, had me do stool samples, did the c'scope and even a capsule endoscopy (I had to swallow a pill that had a camera in it which transmitted pictures for 8 hours to show what my small bowel looked like - it is not seen in the upper endoscopy or c'scope). Since they were all negative for bleeding and I am postmenopausal with no more periods and no bleeding of any kind, I was sent to a hematologist who drew lots of blood and then finally put me on the iron supplements on November 18 which I took until April because my ferritin increased.
I was lucky that I didn't have any really bad symptoms but can say that I did experience some minor ones - fatigue, some leg cramps more like a charleyhorse in my calves, a little hair loss but I have very thick hair so it is not noticeable to anyone only to me when I look at my hairbrush or the bathroom floor. Ironically I think I did feel better back in the spring and lately have been thinking that I was experiencing some return but I don't really know for sure.
So I guess I would urge you to follow up with your doctor.

Don't be frightened about seeing the hematologist or having an upper endoscopy or colonoscopy. You need answers to what is causing your blood to be so low. The only thing I would warn you about is that often the hematologist is also considered an oncologist and sees patients with cancer. Mine does and it was a little scary at the first visit because I didn't realize that. Not everyone with a blood disorder has a blood cancer so don't let your mind play tricks on you. You can scare yourself silly.
As for the scopes, within the last 5 years I have had 3 colonoscopies and 4 upper endoscopies. Neither is painful - you will be sedated for both and usually will not feel anything. For one of my endoscopies I was not totally out of it when they started and I remember feeling like I was gagging but that only happened once.
I can't help you about the transfusion but there have been a number of threads about them. try to do a search on this board.
Keep us posted on how everything goes.

of course I will post my test results! you can count on it. October 14 is my appointment and I am going to call the week before to ask if I can go in the day before to have my blood drawn so my results are there when I'm talking with the doctor. Makes no sense to me the way they do it - see the doctor w/o the results.

Best wishes to all!

CHICKEN09 08-25-2009 07:02 AM

Re: Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
Thank you Susieq and everyone for your support. I guess I will keep my appointment with hematologist and hopefully with the suppliment I been taking and my diet change in eating alot of foods with iron it will be ok. I have seen a big change in my energy level already. I no longer get headaches or migranes, where I use to get at least 3 or 4 a week. I have not had one in 7 days now.
I m excited about that but wondering is someting wrong with me because Im so use to having them often. The only thing is I dont know is if it is because of the iron pill or the new Cholestrol pill or new Femhrt hormone pill. Im assuming it is because of the iron pill. Not getting migranes a big plus.
I just hope they dont suggest iron transfusion, I think I would have to really think about that one. Meeting with coloscopy doctor on 9/22 and hematogist on the 30th of Sept. I will keep you guys informed. Thanks again.

pcutil 08-25-2009 12:15 PM

Re: Joined Club - Just Diagnosed w/ Iron Deficiency Anemia
Thanks a lot FLFG & Susie.

I will insist my doctor to find out the cause first & if needed to go for colonoscopy & endoscopy done.

I will keep posting my updates here.

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