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  • Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

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    Old 06-11-2008, 10:28 AM   #1
    ChickieLou
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    Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    Howdy gang,

    Hope this finds everyone well or on the mend!

    I was retested last week. Here is where I am and where I was on 02-APR-2008:

    WBC: 6.0 10^9/L (was 6.3) (range 3.5-11.0)
    RBC: 3.90 10^12/L (was 3.49 [L]) (range 3.80-5.20)
    HGB: 12.0 g/dL (was 11.1 [L]) (range 11.7-15.7)
    HCT: 34.9 % (was 31.8 [L]) (range 34.9-46.9)
    MCV: 89.7 fL (was 91.1) (range 80.0-100.0)
    MCH: 30.8 pg (was 31.8) (range 26.4-34.0)
    MCHC: 34.9 d/dL (was 34.3) (range 31.4-35.8)
    RDW: 12.5 % (was 12.0) (range 11.5-14.5)
    Platelet: 302 10^9/L (was 278) (range 140-444)
    MPV: 8.2 fL (was 8.4) (range 6.5-11.6)
    Ferritin: 88 ng/mL (was 54) (range 10-291)

    Interpretation:
    Normal (borderline low) blood count
    Normal iron stores
    Both values have improved very much. Doctor recommends continuing the Pill and you should be able to stop the iron after this month.

    I would so much appreciate any anemia veteran's opinion on whether or not these levels are high enough to stop the iron at the end of June as recommended. I can tell everyone (as encouragement) that I feel sooooo much better.

    And one thing to share: I have been mercilessly tortured by heart palpitations for so long now. The tachycardia has stopped since taking the iron. But the extrasystoles were continuing as I was dropping off to sleep at night which was incredibly annoying. I also had these same symptoms many years ago, did the whole holter monitor business only to be told they were benign and suffered for months until they went away. This time, my acupuncturist recommended magnesium, and boy, let me tell ya: It stopped them COLD after taking 1/3 of the recommended supplemental daily dose. It's been miraculous. I have gone a week now without them returning and my sleep is once again blissful. Upon reading more about it, I think the malabsorption problems caused by iron supplementing (even though this type of iron I am taking is better than some of the others) was causing a mild magnesium deficiency, much the way chronic diarrhea causes a person to lose their electrolytes. And I am reading that women on the Pill also may require extra magnesium. And here I was being told by doctors and others "it's probably stress". Like heck, it is.

    So there you have it, if it helps.

    Thanks!
    -Chickie

     
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    Old 06-11-2008, 02:59 PM   #2
    ChristineVA
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    Can you tell me what type of magnesium you are taking?

    I've been taking low-dose iron for over a year now and am SLOWLY improving. Like you, my tachycardia is gone, but this past January, out of the blue, I've started with the extrasystoles. In fact, I have them every day, almost all day. I had 257 events on my 24 hour holter monitor. I did a stress echo, which thankfully was normal, but it did show them. They are harmless and I was given a clean bill of health. I did find that my TSH levels were a tad low (too much Synthroid) so I lowered my dose and that has helped just a TAD. But I've been wondering about the magnesium. I thought I might give it a try but don't know where to begin.

    As for your iron results, your ferritin stores look great. I don't know if I'd ever totally stop the iron, but surely just backing off to a daily multi with iron might be good enough. Your hematocrit/hemoglobin aren't as high as I would expect but that might be your "normal" and that's okay. It's certainly not lack of iron keeping them in the lower ranges!

     
    Old 06-11-2008, 06:36 PM   #3
    ChickieLou
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    Hi Christine,

    Well, if it wasn't so late there where you are, I would say run out and get some magnesium TONIGHT, if you are like me and get the extrasystoles at night when trying to nod off! Ugg! It's horrible. I think you will find relief even after one dose like I did.

    I am taking Magnesium Oxide and it also has Vitamin B6 and a fair amount of Calcium in it. The dose on the bottle is 3 tabs or 400mg Magnesium/day which is 100% of the RDA. I have been taking one pill, so that is 1/3rd of the dose, hoping I can avoid some of the laxative effects as well as get some magnesium from my leafy greens. I saw my acupuncturist today and told her the good news and she felt I could take the full dose, but if only one pill is making the darn things stop, GREAT! She said it could further help with my sleep and my muscle pain if I did take the full dose.

    I think I should be better with some of my numbers too, considering I have not had a period in 5 months. The doctor says it's okay in my case, as I am perimenopausal most likely. The pill has just stopped it. The chelated iron isn't so bad so I suppose I could keep taking it, or take it every other day. Also, when I had the blood draw, I hadn't taken any iron in a week, thinking I was going to be cleared. HA! Oh well.

    Thanks!!!

     
    Old 06-12-2008, 07:23 AM   #4
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    ChickieLou--Welcome back! Your numbers look much better but your Ferritin is Crazy good. I would continue the iron supplements and see if you H & H go higher. Many people have reported that their doc wants the Ferritin to be 100 and I agree. Your almost there! Glad that you are feeling much better.

    So ChickieLou, are you saying that iron supplementing causes magnesium deficiency? I have been having muscle pain 10 months into anemia and I wonder if this is related? I didn't know about that.

    I am wanting to raise my ferritin and try supplements every other day and restest to see if I'm holding thoses levels. If not, then I would resume daily supplements. I just don't want to take what I don't need. I was told to take it until Meno. and forever because of PPI's.

    Your almost there, keep up the good results. FLFLOWERGIRL

     
    Old 06-12-2008, 10:35 PM   #5
    ChickieLou
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    FLFLOWERGIRL,

    Thanks for weighing in on my numbers. I don't think I will retest again until early next year so it's good to know what my plan should be. I was hoping for higher numbers all around because I just ain't bleedin' anymore. All in all, I think this will take a year to correct, from the time I started treatment to when ALL my numbers are good. At that time, I am going to talk to the doctor about something procedural to fix the bleeding and stop the Pill. I view hormones as temporary. My goals are the same as yours: eventually get to the point where I can supplement every other day and see if things hold.

    Well, I guess I should be clearer about this. I am not sure if I have a magnesium "deficiency", per se because I haven't had a blood test. But my one very annoying symptom responded immediately and for now, permanently, to the magnesium. And from everything I am reading and what my acupuncture lady has heard from other patients, magnesium is always worth a shot with extrasystoles. So then that led me to wonder: why would my magnesium drop so precipitously like that? Or why would my heart need the magnesium suddenly? And I found info saying many things, but the three that could apply to me is 1) as women age, they need more, 2) women on BCP may need more and 3) malabsorption. Number three intrigues me because my iron pill is the best tolerated pill I could find so far, but it lately causes troubles in the lower GI and I am also taking every other kind of wonky supplement, glucosamine, calcium, and Vit. D. It could be everything I am taking, together. I've never had a good stomach. But I really have my suspicions that it's the iron at least in part. I think my stomach has just had it with everything. One thing is for sure, I was fine before this iron business and it seemed to build up to the current state. Tummy has been baaaaad in the afternoons for about a month now. And I remember being in my late 20s and being on a diet and having a bad tummy as a result and I landed in the ER with a potassium drop and heart palps that felt much the same as these feel. It was a dietary malabsorption then and the doctor lectured me about being basically malnurished and stupid. (I've since grown up -- I think!)

    Muscle pain and cramping are symptoms of magnesium deficiency so you could very well be on to something. I don't know if it can interact with PPIs, but if I am not mistaken, you can take calcium based antacids safely with PPIs, correct? I am thinking magnesium might be okay but I surely don't know. One thing I did notice, the small amount of magnesium I am taking actually calms my tummy down (like Milk of Magnesia?) It can also have a laxative effect apparently so I guess we'll know when we've had "too much". I don't need anything that makes THAT worse.


     
    Old 06-13-2008, 04:27 AM   #6
    moommin
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    hi i have also started taking magnesium oxide,for body jurks whilst dropping off to sleep,i am also getting extrasystoles,like three beats together,i have mitral heart valve that makes matters worst, is it ok to take magnesium as well as cod liver oil and evening primrose , thanks shirley,

     
    Old 06-13-2008, 05:35 AM   #7
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    What was your iron therapy, oral, injections, infusion? I'm curious b/c your iron moved up A LOT.

     
    Old 06-13-2008, 08:56 AM   #8
    ChickieLou
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    Moommin, I don't really know if it's safe to take with those. I'm guessing it's okay. Just as an aside, I tried taking fish oil and flax seed oil alone without magnesium, and my touchy stomach couldn't tolerate it. I had to stop them finally. I don't know about evening primrose oil. I just have the world's dumbest tummy.

    Is the magnesium stopping the heart thumps for you too?? I am really amazed at how many people have had this problem at some point in their lives and no one has heard about magnesium. Do doctors not want us know? Last time I had this, I suffered for almost a year! All the doctor did was reassure me that they were benign. I eventually learned to fall asleep with the extra beats, but I still had them until they eventually stopped. When they came back again almost 10 years later, I was so upset because I knew what it meant. I would have to learn to fall asleep all over again. Thank god someone told me about the magnesium. It really was a miracle for me.

    Peanuts83, I am taking a chelated iron formulation. It's chewable. It sounds awful, but it's really tasty like grape. If you do an internet search on "chelated iron", you will probably find the brand I am taking. I had heard it was very well absorbed in most people, so I guess my numbers agree.

     
    Old 06-13-2008, 10:02 AM   #9
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    chick,iv only been taking magnesium for three days,i know i feel a bit more alert,after taking it,but time will tell, ill try anything at the moment to try and feel a bit normal,its been along struggle,all the best shirley

     
    Old 06-13-2008, 10:09 AM   #10
    ChickieLou
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    Shirley, in addition to magnesium, you might try eating some greenish bananas and some apricot nectar for a couple of days just to make sure your potassium levels are up too. Bananas also have alot of magnesium.

    Last edited by ChickieLou; 06-13-2008 at 10:10 AM.

     
    Old 06-13-2008, 07:52 PM   #11
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    ChickieLou--I was reading today about Magnesium and it read that many premenopausal women (that's us) are deficienct. Maybe you already know this, I didn't, my mom just gave me this article on vitamins today. Along with deficiency this puts people at risk for diabetes and colon cancer. Look for a vitamin with 100mgs just for insurance. They recommemded taking 320mgs a day. More than 350mgs may cause diarrhea. Just food for thought. FLFLOWERGIRL

     
    Old 06-14-2008, 09:31 AM   #12
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    I went searching for a magnesium supplement today and could not find one under 400 mgs. I really want to take this but am scared to death. I already have IBS of the "loose" variety and don't want to make it worse. I have a full-time job with a long commute and cannot afford to have any "episodes" if you know what I mean!

     
    Old 06-14-2008, 09:51 AM   #13
    ChickieLou
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    Flowergirl, isn't EVERYTHING caused by being peri- or pre-menopausal? Someone needs to find a "cure" for this. Too many nice women suffer.

    When I respond like I have to things like the magnesium, I am always dying to know if I am truly "deficient". If one responds immediately (like my extrasystoles stopping cold like they did), does this mean they are deficient? I am looking at my most recent serum chemistry results and they didn't test magnesium. I'm sort of stunned. I work in clinical drug trials and every lab test done on study participants includes magnesium. I guess study participants get treated more comprehensively than insured patients do.

    Christine, I am SO sympathetic, believe me. My tummy is terrible and that's why I've been cautious with the magnesium. The full dose of the brand I take is also 400 mg, but it comes in the form of 3 tablets. So I have been taking one with breakfast. I am thinking about taking two (adding one with dinner). But that's as high as I am willing to go for now. Can you go the route of a pill splitter and just take half? It's worth it, I think.

    Last edited by ChickieLou; 06-14-2008 at 09:52 AM.

     
    Old 06-14-2008, 01:30 PM   #14
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ChickieLou View Post
    Can you go the route of a pill splitter and just take half? It's worth it, I think.

    Yes, I could but the tablets were quite large and they didn't have the scoring in the middle. In the past, when I've halfed tablets like these, they "hurt" going down. I don't think they are meant to be cut. I have only looked one place, so I am going to continue my search for either a lower dose tablet, or one that is smaller/smoother and is okay to cut.

     
    Old 06-14-2008, 07:43 PM   #15
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    Re: Back from anemia "hiatus" and with new lab values

    Christine, try doing an internet search on magnesium with vitamin b6. The first hit under shopping results is the one I am taking. It has a serving size of 3, which is the number of tablets that equal 400 mg, so you will be able to take what you want up to 3 tabs. Good luck!

     
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