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    Old 07-30-2009, 04:23 PM   #1
    shynee32
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    Question Low Ferritin and Iron

    Hi,

    I had a full blood workup at my last physical, and I've been really tired so they checked my iron.

    My tests came back low in ferritin and iron. The nurse said my red blood cells were small.

    I am going back next Wednesday to see my NP to talk it all over.

    I have been dealing with anemia for a while. I think it has gotten worse as the years have gone by. But, the only time I've been told to take ferrous sulfate is when pregnant.

    Back in 1997, I had stomach problems(I was on the verge of an ulcer). When they checked my levels, my iron was low. So, they did an endoscopy and colonoscopy, and found nothing. No internal bleeding. So, the doctor just figured I had heavy periods and told me to make sure to take a supplement with iron. And my levels were checked each time I was pregnant(3 times), and I was put on ferrous sulfate each time, but went off it 3 months after they were born. I was never told to stay on it.

    Do you think they will want to do the scopys again? They were really expensive last time. It's been over 10 years since the last ones. Or do you think they might just put me on supplements?

    What exactly is ferritin, and why would that be low?

    Sorry so many ?s, but this is the first time I've heard of ferritin in connection with my anemia, and I'm a little concerned.

    I eat plenty of meat, and eat dark green veggies and stuff. Love fruit, so I should be getting enough C.

    Anybody have any ideas of what is going on with me?

    Also, is there anything I can take now to help my levels until I see my NP?

    I really would appreciate any info.

    Thank you!

     
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    Old 07-30-2009, 04:40 PM   #2
    beth67
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    Re: Low Ferritin and Iron

    How low was your ferritin. Ferritin measures the amount of stored iron. Mine is 19 and my doctor wants me to do intravenous iron. I should be at around 100. I thought the most logical thing to do would be to figure out why I'm anemic. I asked my doctor for a celiac panel because I had symptoms that pointed to that as well as being iron deficient. It came out positive so that is whats probably causing the anemia because you can't absorb iron if you have celiacs. I'm on a celiac rant lately so when I hear anyone is iron deficient I suggest getting a celiac panel. I have felt bad for three years with falling iron levels without anyone addressing it. Hate to see someone go through what I did. You should ask what your levels were. Better yet, go get a copy of your labs. I keep copies of all my labs. If they do an endoscopy tell them to do a biopsy to check for celiac disease. Good luck.

    Beth

     
    Old 07-30-2009, 04:49 PM   #3
    shynee32
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    Re: Low Ferritin and Iron

    Thanks for that info, Beth. I'm going in in about a week, so I'll get my labs then. And, I will have them do the celiac if I do an endoscopy again. Might as well get all the info while they are in there. The nurse never gave me numbers-just said they were low. Maybe I'll call back tomorrow and ask what the numbers are, so I know more where I'm at. I feel pretty lousy, so I bet they are pretty low.

    Thank you!

     
    Old 07-30-2009, 06:10 PM   #4
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    Re: Low Ferritin and Iron

    shynee32--Welcome to the boards!!! The ferritin is an iron storage protein, this is iron storage in the bone marrow and organs. When this number goes too low then the Hgb begins to drop with the end stage resulting in iron deficiency anemia. My ferritin was a 2 and the doctor told me that when this happens this low, that you begin to pull iron from your organs next, that's not good!!!! Ferritin should be at least 50 for minimal health and higher 70-100 for optimal health. The problem here is that many doctors won't even test the ferritin if you are not anemic. After you hit low normal range even many doctor's say that you are fine. A low ferritin can and often does present with symptoms, such as RLS, anxiety, hair loss and fatigue so that's the short story about ferritin and doctor's as many see it. Have you had this test? If not, be sure that you do.

    You should also have a B-12 and folate check if you haven't already.

    If you have a history of ulcer they may want to repeat scopes for you. They rely on medical history a lot. Especially since it's been ten years. Your best bet if it is not due to heavy periods is to see a GI doc to rule things out.

    So, are you having heavy periods? This is usually the cause for iron deficiency. Next are malabsorption syndromes and there are many things that can cause this. Celiac is one of them that should be ruled out and they usually do this first with the blood test before biopsy. Take care and keep us posted. FLFG
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    Old 07-31-2009, 11:20 AM   #5
    shynee32
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    Re: Low Ferritin and Iron

    Well, I don't have RLS-at least I don't think so. I think I sit too much to have it. I am going back on August 5th to have more blood drawn. I didn't get to talk to my NP, so I don't know what they plan to check.

    I never had an ulcer. I was "headed" for one, due to stress. I had really bad acid reflux and IBS-like symptoms. Turned out to be stress, though, as when I quit my job the symptoms went away within weeks. I went to see a gastroenterologist, and he did some blood tests and found I was anemic. I don't know what the numbers were, but he decided to make sure I didn't have any open wounds internally with the endo and colonoscopy. He found nothing. He just dismissed it as being from my periods. I don't really think of my periods are that heavy. I've actually been unlucky enough to have hemoraging where it was, um, trickling out of me and the nurses said that was "nothing".(I had a premature birth during my 1st pregnancy, i.e. the hemoraging.)

    This is the first time my ferritin has been low, and my cycles haven't changed over the years.

    I have to call the clinic today to get the ferritin and iron numbers, so I know how bad it really is. I will post the numbers once I know.

    Beth, I do have some issues with wheat products. Not really noticeable, but I do experience bloating-and the more I eat the worse it is, and while whole wheat usually has a laxative effect on my other family members-I don't experience that. I have also felt really sleepy after eating pasta or bread that wasn't whole grain. I thought I was insulin resistant, but my glucose came back normal. So now I wonder?

    If you could shed some light on Celiac, I'd appreciate it. I'm definitely bringing it up next week.

    Thanks!

     
    Old 07-31-2009, 11:53 AM   #6
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    Re: Low Ferritin and Iron

    My symptoms with celiac were bloated stomach, cramping, abnormal bowel movements either constipated or very loose, muscle aches and pains, weakness, very tired, wake up exhausted, tingling in toes and around mouth but that could be low iron, just feeling blah. There are a lot of symptoms and some people have no symptoms at all. A celiac panel is a good test to get but not always positive even though you have celiacs. If you go off wheat and start to feel good you possibly could have it. If a blood test comes out negative the next step is a biopsy of the intestines. I'm actually having a really bad day. I've only been off wheat for a week but I heard it could take up to a month to feel better. Soooo tired. I've just started to read Elisabeth Hasselbacks book The G Free Diet. She has celiacs and so far it's been very informative.

    Beth

     
    Old 07-31-2009, 12:30 PM   #7
    shynee32
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    Re: Low Ferritin and Iron

    yeah, that sounds like me. Nothing that is going to hit me over the head and say "you need to get checked out", but feeling icky a lot of the time.

    If I hadn't decided to go in for my physical, I still wouldn't know about the low ferritin and iron.

    I have been on low carb diets in the past, and those are the ones I always felt great on. Lots more energy. But it was never immediate.

    I really need to talk to my doc as she knows what other tests she's going to do.

     
    Old 08-01-2009, 07:01 AM   #8
    shynee32
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    Re: Low Ferritin and Iron

    Well, I called the nurse. And, I swear(and I've had this issue with this nurse before) that she said, the first time I talked to her on Thursday "Your red blood cells are small, and your iron and Ferritin is low".

    No, what she said was that my red blood cells are small, and I am coming back in Wednesday to have my iron and Ferritin levels checked. I swear she never explained why I was coming back in next Wednesday the first time, otherwise I would've known they didn't check my levels yet.

    Anyway, I did a little research and small blood cells can also indicate a B-12 deficiency, or a little known condition that Mediterranean people, Northern African People, and Asian People called Thalasemia. I have none of those ethnic backgrounds, so it's highly unlikely it's that.

    I still think it is low Ferritin causing the small cells as I have a history of anemia.

    Kind of ticks me off that I've had it so long and no doctor has really addressed it properly, because it shouldn't have gotten worse.

    I hope it doesn't take too long to get the results back. It took a week this last time. And between you, me, and the man in the moon-aunt flo is due to make her visit soon and I can't imagine that is going to better my situation.

    Wish me luck!

     
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