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  • Low Ferritin not a cause for fatigue?

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    Old 07-19-2013, 06:36 PM   #1
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    Question Low Ferritin not a cause for fatigue?

    Hello everyone - I have been reading some posts on the board and am relieved to see some of the comments regarding ferritin and iron levels. I have two issues that might be causing fatigue and am addressing them both but by GP insists that my low ferritin can NOT be the cause of the fatigue because my hemoglobin level is now normal (forget the fact that I was actively taking iron supplements when she drew the blood for that test). She insists that the only patients she has seen who have significant fatigue from anemia have hemoglobin levels of 6 or less and it is not related to ferritin level at all.
    My Ferritin was 3 in Oct 2012, and was 6 in June 2013 after 9 months of nearly daily iron (only 45mg) and the hemoglobin was still low at around 11 at that point (I stopped the supplement for a few days before that test). So the most recent test was drawn while I was still taking 45mg daily, at night with no food. The hemo was in the 12's and the total iron in the low normal range(41), ferritin showed up as 8, a further improvement from June.
    The new results that I am still learning about were the iron binding capacity, which was in the mid 500's (high) and the % saturation which was about half the lowest acceptable level (8 in a range of 15-50). From what I can tell the binding capacity speaks to the transferrin level - the body wants more iron so it makes more of the material that helps absorb it and transfer it from the gut to where it belongs. The % saturation is how much of that material - the transferrin is bonded to iron. Is that right? I am on prescription iron with C in it now (much larger 545mg dose) and have started to feel a little improved already. I don't crash so hard in the afternoons anymore and don't always feel like I was hit by a truck when I get up in the mornings.
    So am I crazy to think that with all the indicators of low iron and low iron stores the fatigue was/is a result of the anemia? I was also slightly hypothyroid and am still working to get those levels normal for me - since they were not completely out of range to begin with. I guess I should find another doctor because the same GP told me my TSH and T4 levels were normal. I did not agree and went to an endo who found that I have Hashimotos Thyroiditis advanced enough to cause significant scar tissue in and enlargement of the glands, even though the levels were not way crazy. Any input or advice about the anemia from those of you who are experienced? Thanks a ton!

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    Old 07-22-2013, 12:53 PM   #2
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    Re: Low Ferritin not a cause for fatigue?

    Yes that does sound right and with low ferritin you can feel tired. I also have hypothyroidism(not hashi) and we have trouble hanging on to iron if left in a low thyroid state.

    I'm still working on getting my iron up for a year after significant bloodloss because the doctor is so afraid to up my dose of levo. So guess what I bought my own meds and taking care of myself because docs here are of no help.
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    Electrons (07-22-2013)
    Old 07-22-2013, 02:13 PM   #3
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    Re: Low Ferritin not a cause for fatigue?

    Well, maybe that explains why the nearly 9 months of iron treatment, even at a low dose was not really registering much. And now that the thyroid is beginning to get under control the iron seems to be helping more rapidly. I hope you find the right answer for your thyroid issues. As I understand it there are a lot of options over and above synthetic thyroid. Good luck.

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    anemia, ferritin, transferrin saturation

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