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  • Getting scared...

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    Old 05-20-2011, 05:09 AM   #1
    cinngirl70
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    Getting scared...

    My 18 year old daughter was diagnosed anemic about 3 months ago after symptoms of fatigue and muscle weakness. She's a distance runner and was unable to train anymore. The doctor put her on oral iron, which did not help (levels dropped). We took her to a hematologist and he suggested IV iron therapy. By that time, her levels came up a whole point so she started training again. She felt good for about 2 days and then crashed again. In that time, she got bronchitis and needed to be on antibiotics, prednisone, and cough meds. They did a cbc after 3 infusions and her levels have dropped a little more. She has lost 11 pounds and looks extremely sick. She is so tired, she can barely function. I am terrified that this is cancer. She went through the GI testing...x-rays and scope and biopsy. The doctor said that he did not see anything that looked unusual or any signs of celiacs, but the actual results will come in today. A blood test was negative for celiacs. The GI doctor and the hematologist said that the next step is bone marrow testing. I am so scared!!! Her RBC last cbc was 3.93, HGB 10.1, HCT 34.9, MCH 25.7, MCHC 28.9, and RDW 17.9. Her white count was low, but with her being sick it came back up to 4.2 The rest of her cbc was normal. What could be causing this?? She doesn't even get a period because of her high level of training. I am just looking for some input.

    Thank you!!!

     
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    Old 05-20-2011, 05:32 PM   #2
    hmm82
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    Re: Getting scared...

    I can totally feel for your daughter's situation. I'm a distance runner myself, and got diagnosed with iron deficiency and early stage of anemia a few weeks ago.. I've also had the muscle weakness!

    I think my iron problem came from the training as running definitely causes iron loss though I never trained as hard as to lose my periods (so this is extra blood loss of course). anyway, the more you run (the longer in terms of time/frequency and/or the harder in terms of pace), the more iron will be lost.

    if she isn't getting her periods, and her iron levels still keep dropping and she isn't training then there MUST be some other source of blood loss, your doctor must find that! I sure hope it isn't cancer. let us know if you got the results, I'm really curious what this could be.

    also, I hope she isn't trying to train through this anymore, I would stop all training until the iron levels stabilize a bit. it is pointless running much now, she can't gain anymore fitness until the iron deficiency is sorted. yes need to face that fitness will be lost, but it will come back in a few weeks after iron replacement kicks in so don't worry about that part.

    maybe the fact that she stopped getting her periods is related, maybe she's a bit overtrained and perhaps eating problems (eating too little)? need to be honest on that. fatigue etc can come from this too, and that coupled with iron problem is even worse, obviously.

    anyway, I think the most important is to figure out why she kept losing iron even after stopping training (? did she? I'm not clear on this??).

    oh also, another unclear part, you only quote CBC results, is this the part that dropped/got back up? or directly iron-related values such as ferritin levels, too? any info on soluble transferrin receptor levels?

    I'm not a doctor or anything, just another runner who got iron problems&anemia. I really hope your daughter will get better.

    Last edited by hmm82; 05-20-2011 at 05:34 PM.

     
    Old 05-21-2011, 06:10 AM   #3
    cinngirl70
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    Re: Getting scared...

    Thank you so much for responding!!

    This cbc was done before her last iron infusion. She had a more detailed one done about a month ago. I did not get a copy of those results. Monday we will see the hematologist again and I am sure he will run another test. I really want to know her ferretin levels too. I know he told us a month ago that her iron stores were very low.

    I think you're on to something with the eating and training. She has struggled longer with this than we first realized. I think it could possibly go back to last year. First thing we noticed was her times stopped improving and she had to work harder and harder to keep her best times. Then of course, the muscle pain and weakness had us taking her to all kinds of therapy for that. I am thinking she might have become anemic when she had her last period sometime last year. And then she started training harder and harder in an affort to improve her times. She also became increasingly concerned about her food intake. Healthy food only, nothing processed etc.

    Once diagnosed with the severe anemia, she took off one week of training then immediately jumped right back in. She would feel better for a day or two and then crash. But she kept on running. I'm talking 8-9 miles a day. I think the anxiety of it all affected her appetite too and I could see she was not eating enough with all of that running. To top it off, she grew taller in this time...perhaps an inch. (she's almost 6 foot tall) I am hoping that all of this together is what's caused her levels to get so bad and also her weight loss. THis could really make sense to me.

    I guess on Monday we will definitely know if her levels are dropping despite the infusions. The cbc done 2 weeks ago showed that it dropped but she only had 2 treatments so far and she was still running/eating very little.

    My middle daughter is a recovering anorexic. I am just now seeing how very much my 18 year old is acting/feeling and looking like the middle daughter was when she was sick.

    Thank you for responding!! I wish you luck in your recovery!

     
    Old 05-21-2011, 01:10 PM   #4
    hmm82
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    Re: Getting scared...

    some of that sounds soo familiar to me! yeah, the first sign would be that times stop improving (especially for higher intensity races). and then the muscle pain and all that. it is unfortunate that at this stage it is hard to figure out that it could be from iron deficiency.

    I'll be curious to hear about the test results!

    as for the running, 8-9miles a day is a lot of extra iron loss and stress beyond that too. because with iron deficiency the muscles need to go too anaerobic to keep up, lactate levels increase, etc., and this is no good for distance running and in general. with this iron problem, I did notice that I would feel a lot more crap after trying to run too hard - "too hard" means relative to the iron deficiency.

    it sounds like she truly needs to get a few weeks of rest. then gradually ease back into the training. she should do real hard training only after ferritin levels improve enough, it needs to be above 30 or so. 50 even better. maybe she could do some very light aerobic exercise(not running) but not a lot of it(not every day) and certainly nothing that causes the muscles to burn. and nothing that makes her feel tired.

    one more thought, if she doesn't eat enough that will mean less iron too and not just iron but other minerals and vitamins.. another possible source of problems beyond too few calories.

    Last edited by hmm82; 05-21-2011 at 01:19 PM.

     
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