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  • More understanding of my results. I need advice re low ferritin.

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    Old 10-23-2007, 02:37 PM   #1
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    More understanding of my results. I need advice re low ferritin.


    I've been back to my doctor and I have more of an understanding of where my levels are sitting.

    I'm not anemic. But my iron stores are very low.

    My ferritin is 7.

    What I want to know is, can I attribute my feelings of fatigue, lethargy, irritability and heavy headedness to such a low ferritin level without being anemic, or does low ferritin not affect you unless you are anemic as well ?

    And a second questions ... how long will it take to build my ferritin level up to an acceptable level ? And what is an acceptable level ?

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

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    Old 10-23-2007, 03:00 PM   #2
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    Re: More understanding of my results. I need advice re low ferritin.


    I'll try to answer your questions but there's nothing "concrete" about.

    Regarding if you would feel bad with a ferritin of 7 and not being anemic. The scientific proof is out on this and most doctors in the U.S. won't even give you the time of day if you have normal "anemia" numbers but low ferritin. Some informal literature that I read states that athletes don't perform as well or get as much oxygen throughout the cells with low ferritin without anemia. Personally, I think you can feel very bad with ferritin levels that are low. But I think the cutoff and side effects are going to be different for many people.

    For instance, I was feeling pretty bad for awhile. I found out that I had a ferritin of 5. But I've heard people here report symptoms far worse than mine with ferritin levels in the 20s.

    As far as building up--again, this is very individual. It's going to depend on what the cause is of the low ferritin and what type of supplements you are taking and how well they are absorbed.

    I was "anemic" back in July 2006. I started very low supplementation in December 2006. In January 2007, I was no longer anemic (but really very borderline) yet my ferritin was 5 (don't know what it was before then as no one tested). So within 4 weeks, I no longer had anemia. I was retested in March 2007 and my "anemia" numbers were even higher but my ferritin was at 5 still. I then started adding a Flinstone's Vitamin to some iron water I was drinking. In June 2007, I was up to a 12 with ferritin and my anemia numbers were steady.

    I then stopped the iron water and doubled up on my Flintstones. In September 2007, I had my best improvement ever--my ferritin was at 24 and my hemoglobin went from a 37.7 (where it had been hovering all year) up to a 39. I can't say that through all that I got a noticeable improvement in my well-being UNTIL this month. I am FINALLY starting to feel more energetic. But it has taken the level in the 20s to get me that way. I hope to keep improving.

    Now, if I had taken more potent iron supplements, I could have done this a whole lot faster. But they kill me, so I have to take it easy.

    Old 10-24-2007, 02:10 AM   #3
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    Re: More understanding of my results. I need advice re low ferritin.

    I can't speak for others, but the lowest my ferretin got to was 8 and at my last blood test it was 35, but getting it to 35 involved experimenting with varying types of iron supplements and varying dosages. Along the way i found out that it wasn't simply my iron i was low in, but VERY low vitamin D as well as Iodine, low-ish in my Zinc too and my thyroid results were not the best either. So now i'm on Zinc, Iron, Vit D and Iodine. I would get the lot tested if i were you as often it's not simply a matter of being low in iron and fixing that one thing. There can be other things out which invidividually end up affecting something else down the line.

    I was excessively tired and felt run down when i was at 8, just having breakfast would exhaust me and i would have to lay down. I ended up getting to 29 after nearly one and a half years of iron supplements, then dropping back to 26. My doctor then agreed to do a course of iron injections and the injections only got me as far as 35.

    I don't feel as tired as i did at 8, but in the teens and 20's i still felt very worn out and unmotivated. Now i'm not sure whether i'm still at 35 or whether i have dropped as i stopped taking iron supplements during the course of injections and for a month and a half later, especially as i got a false high of energy for about one month and then started to feel a bit tired again. Who knows, maybe my numbers dropped during the time of not taking supplements, but right now i dont have that amazing energy as i had towards the end of my iron injections.

    My doctor has told me that on average people who are extremely low and working their way up usually end up taking a lot of time and it wont happen in a matter of weeks. Most people on this board have been at it for at least a year +.

    My doctor wants me over 70, but would love to see me over 125 and i basically tell him 'fat chance'. At this stage i dont see myself getting to 50 any time soon, let alone 125. Then again, we're all individuals and you might be one of the lucky ones, plus it also depends why your levels got so low. Is it due to vegan diet, illness, heavy periods, internal bleeding, gluten intolerance etc.

    Old 10-24-2007, 02:19 PM   #4
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    Re: More understanding of my results. I need advice re low ferritin.

    We are at only the early stages of diagnosis and don't know why my ferritin is so low. My Ob/Gyn thinks that it may be a combination of 3 pregnancies and that, at last ultrasound, I had something that was bleeding in my uterus. He will do another ultrasound next Wednesday to see what's going on.

    He basically said that the reason I am not anemic is beause my body is working really really hard to maintain healthy blood cells, and that's the reason I fee SO tired.

    I want another blood test to see if the 30 days of iron supplement have done anything ... I need that physcological boost.

    I tell you, there are days that I feel I am going crazy. I wake up in the morning washed out and tired and I stay like that all day. It's not easy when you have a 7yr old, 5yr old, 6 month old baby, a husband and a big house to look after. And no family support to speak of .. my folks (who are godsends) live 2 hours flight away and although my inlaws are close they are in their 80's and not much 'support'.

    Anyway. Enough of my whinging. I just hope that the ferritin is what is causing my fatiuge ... because it means that in time and with patience it will increase (somehow) and I will get back to normal.

    Hmmm, today is going to be a rough one ... bubba had a really unsettled night and I was up and down like a yo yo to him ... argh.

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