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    Old 05-12-2011, 08:57 PM   #1
    hmm82
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    iron deficiency - or more?

    sorry if my post is a bit long! I was diagnosed with iron deficiency about two weeks ago. I wanted to find out more about the topic so I've been reading this forum among other things and I've found the posts here really useful! I've still got some nagging questions though.




    first my story: I'm 28, female, and a few months ago I started having trouble with my workouts (running), symptoms slowly worsening. after a while I finally figured out it could be an iron deficiency problem...it was so hard to figure it out because it was not the trivial anemia symptoms.

    anyway, I never had high iron levels in my life (I don't like red meat but not a vegetarian otherwise), but it was never too bad before: HGB in the past would usually be 12.6-12.9 and serum iron tended to be at the low end of normal range but still inside normal range. then I started running 1.5 years ago, and I had a routine blood test 6 months after I started running, the blood test was okay then, though iron was borderline (and transferrin saturation only around 12%). no data on ferritin a year ago. anyway, I was fine then, running fine too. but now, things seem to have changed..

    when I got suspicious about a possible iron deficiency, I went to the doctor (just a GP) a couple of weeks ago and had a blood test done and a lot of stuff was out of the normal range, most of it is clearly to do with the iron but not all of it.


    first of all, HGB is low-normal (12.1) so I'm not technically anemic. MCV is already too low though, so I guess I'm maybe actually anemic already? serum iron and ferritin (6) very low too, and transferrin saturation seems to be around 5%, virtually nonexistent eh?

    I've definitely experienced some symptoms. I would get these symptoms especially when/after I'd get my period - btw my period is not heavy, just normal...I think so anyway. and in the past I never had problems when I had my period (not even PMS!)... but, in the last couple of months, usually with my period arriving, I'd start feeling pretty weak in the muscles and would have bouts of a kind of really bad fatigue accompanying the weakness. I had no chance to do any decent running during these bouts because my muscles would burn too much after a few mins of running unless I went at a really slow pace. on the worst days I couldn't even go up stairs without stopping - leg muscles all going crazy burning!!

    the above symptoms would clear gradually and spontaneously within a couple weeks after the period/bleeding ending (it usually lasts 5 days for me). interestingly enough, I had the same symptoms for a couple of days after the blood was drawn to be checked. I don't know for sure if related or not. I mean, I was just recovering from the bout from last period, but I relapsed after the blood test.

    outside these weird bouts I would usually have no symptoms, no fatigue, I'm not even pale, nothing - or I just didn't recognize anything else as related (maybe there is 1-2 little things but I'm not sure).
    this is why it was so hard to figure out there was a problem with my iron levels. I figured it out only because I noticed that my symptoms in one bout resolved after eating extra protein rich food for a few days (these food usually rich in iron too)...

    well, there was also a need for extra sleep but I did not realize this for a while. often I just couldn't get up until I'd slept for 10-12 hours. I simply felt very fatigued if I tried to get up earlier so I went back to bed right away and after a couple hours of extra sleep I was fine. I didn't notice this was abnormal because it was worsening so gradually/slowly. I needed 10 hours of sleep for months before it went to 12 hours. before problems started I only needed 8-9 hours.

    I started an iron supplement therapy after the blood results came back. my doctor was a bit weird about it because he didn't prescribe a lot of iron for me, just suggested I buy some kind of syrup with all kinds of minerals including iron. I've been taking that but I also added extra iron from another supplement because I didn't think that this 30mg of iron per day from the syrup was going to be enough. anyway, I've gradually increased the daily amount to get used to it, I'm up at 150mg now.

    I've had one more period in this last 2 weeks since I started taking the iron, and I did get a bout of the crap arriving with it. it was really bad, a lot of muscle weakness from minimal exertion like going to another room in the house or typing at the computer. never had it this bad before! I did get over this one in 2 days so maybe the extra iron has been helping a bit... I'd already been taking the iron for 10 days before my period came (I'm still bleeding a bit but I feel okay now). I guess it takes a while to really kick in?




    here's my questions that have been nagging me a bit:


    my first question is this - is it common or possible to experience these sorts of bouts with iron deficiency that is borderline anemia - i.e. just about to develop into full blown anemia? I'm asking because I haven't read about this anywhere.


    my second question - are my specific symptoms common / related to anemia or iron deficiency? I mean, the really weird stuff is the muscle weakness. it usually would come up with my period. but there was one bout where it did NOT come up with the period, it was unrelated in terms of timing. that one only lasted 2-3 days though, it was about 1.5 months ago. but it was really bad, certain muscles got so weak, I could not even wash my hair without stopping a few times to rest some burning muscles (but walking was fine).
    so, basically, muscles would simply start "burning" from a little more exertion. I foolishly tried running and muscles started "crying" after 100m or so, even though it was a really slow pace, so I gave up.

    the weird thing with all that is that I have never felt out of breath or light-headed but maybe because my HGB is not that low yet... OTOH, when these bouts hit me bad, my energy in general goes down, I feel a bit of apathy, also I feel just simply terrible for a few secs/mins after a little exertion. muscles burning, and something inside my head going crazy like someone hit it hard (not dizziness, and not a headache, but something different - sorry can't find better words to describe the feeling).


    and my third question - two things in the blood test results don't seem related to iron deficiency but maybe they are related in a way? my doctor said nothing about it when I asked. these two results are apparently related to globulin levels, see numbers below.


    the stuff out of range that seems to be related to iron status:

    MCV - 78,6 (low)
    serum iron - 27 (low)
    TIBC - 503 (high)
    transferrin - 403 (high)
    ferritin - 6 (low)


    unrelated(?):

    total protein - 8.6 - high (range 6.0-8.4)
    albumin globulin ratio - 1.4 - low (range 1.5-2)

    for comparison, a 1 year ago I had:
    total protein - 7.1 - normal
    A/G ratio - 1.8 - normal

    as for the proteins themselves, globulin is at 3.6 where range is 2.2-3.6. (globulin was only calculated from total protein). I had the globulin at only 2.5 last year. at the same time, albumin went from 4.6 to 5.0, the range for that is 3.8-5.1.

    the doctor didn't care, I guess because it was only slightly out of normal range, but most doctors are like that..

    so, I don't know, is that stuff something I should care/worry about in the context of iron deficiency (or outside it)?




    thanks so much for any help.

    Last edited by hmm82; 05-12-2011 at 09:01 PM.

     
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    Old 05-17-2011, 07:53 PM   #2
    rozzilynn
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    Re: iron deficiency - or more?

    I was diagnosed with Life threating Iron deficiency My scores were 5.3 and the normal range for a teen my age is 12-18 I have been taking high MG iron pills... When I get my monthly cycle it does tend to be weak... dizzyness was my common symptom as well as severe migranes I used to pass out in school and on the stairs due to my animea it was scary but since i been to the doctor im now 5 months into my animea scare and my score improved dramatically to 11.6 I would recommend red grapes and beef! High in Iron! Hope this could help any =/

     
    Old 05-17-2011, 07:55 PM   #3
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    Re: iron deficiency - or more?

    Quick question. Your head pains do they seem to happen if you turn your neck suddenly? because blood flow blocked from the brain if you turn your head and feel a rush and feel as if you are going to pass out is lack of oxygen to your brain...

     
    Old 05-18-2011, 06:17 AM   #4
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    Re: iron deficiency - or more?

    rozzylin; I too recommend red grapes and red meat and leafy greens (I like the 'spring mix' that has the purplish colored leaves in it too). I take my iron with GRAPE JUICE - it actually has more vitamin C than orange juice and in general, we need to eat and drink foods/juices that are naturally green and red and purplish, they are what our bodies need!

     
    Old 05-20-2011, 05:13 PM   #5
    hmm82
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    Re: iron deficiency - or more?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rozzilynn View Post
    Quick question. Your head pains do they seem to happen if you turn your neck suddenly? because blood flow blocked from the brain if you turn your head and feel a rush and feel as if you are going to pass out is lack of oxygen to your brain...
    thanks for your answer no, it doesn't seem to be related to turning my neck, more related to a little exertion such as going up a few stairs.. but yes I think the feeling is just what you describe (blood flow stuff).

    anyway, in the last few days I haven't had any of the weird muscle weakness or the "dizziness". I can even run longer than 30mins without muscle problems. maybe this iron stuff is starting to really kick in!

    PS: a note on taking iron, it is weird, I keep reading that taking it with food or directly after a meal makes it more tolerable for the stomach. but what I find is that if I take it after a meal my stomach complains a little (I get bloated and a little nauseous feeling). but on empty stomach no problems! so I'm taking it on empty stomach now. (it's a couple teaspoonfuls of ferrous sulfate elixir diluted in a cup of water and about 500mg vitamin C powder dissolved in the drink.)

    Last edited by hmm82; 05-20-2011 at 05:16 PM.

     
    Old 05-21-2011, 07:07 AM   #6
    cinngirl70
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    Re: iron deficiency - or more?

    You sound just like my daughter...same complaints of muscles burning and weakness. These symptoms started with her over a year ago and she was only just diagnosed anemic this year. So yes, I think it's possible to feel that when only borderline anemic. Also, with her, she had good days and bad days. Some days the anemia kicked her butt, other days she felt ok. It's not consistent.

     
    Old 05-21-2011, 12:26 PM   #7
    hmm82
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    Re: iron deficiency - or more?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cinngirl70 View Post
    You sound just like my daughter...same complaints of muscles burning and weakness. These symptoms started with her over a year ago and she was only just diagnosed anemic this year. So yes, I think it's possible to feel that when only borderline anemic. Also, with her, she had good days and bad days. Some days the anemia kicked her butt, other days she felt ok. It's not consistent.
    thanks, so good to know it really can be like that. hope your daughter is OK now. how long did it take for her to get 100% well? did it take long for the doctors to diagnose her as anemic?

    EDIT: nvm, I see it is you who had the other thread. that answers my questions

    Last edited by hmm82; 05-21-2011 at 12:42 PM.

     
    Old 06-14-2011, 12:25 AM   #8
    hmm82
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    Re: iron deficiency - or more?

    so far it seems like it's really just the iron and nothing else. those muscle symptoms all disappeared (i.e. not weak anymore). good to know this.


    the other thing is, about taking the liquid iron supplement, it seems it was just too much fluid along with the food in my stomach that made me feel bloated etc.
    if I make sure I don't dilute it with more than a cup of water, then it's fine. I'm still taking it on empty stomach though. and adding a LOT of vitamin C makes the crap taste go away too. good trick.

    Last edited by hmm82; 06-14-2011 at 12:28 AM.

     
    Old 07-25-2011, 11:54 AM   #9
    islandhop
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    Re: iron deficiency - or more?

    Hi

    Sorry to hear about you not feeling to good. But you are not alone, many women face this battle in life. It definitely sounds like you are on stage 1 of ID without anemia. I too was recently diagnosed and have been taking iron tablets now for 3 months, you will definitely feel an improvement once you begin your therapy. You will also have to learn to eat all the essential foods rich in iron (molasses, cereals, beetroot, beef, greens) which will assist to increase your ferritin levels (backup stored iron). I take 100mg of iron a day with vit c which helps iron to be absorbed into the blood.

    Fatigue, dizziness, cold hands, brittle hair and nails, loss of hair are all symptoms of ID.

    Hope this helps you and you get sorted with your therapy.

     
    Old 07-26-2011, 10:06 AM   #10
    hmm82
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    Re: iron deficiency - or more?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by islandhop View Post
    Hi

    Sorry to hear about you not feeling to good. But you are not alone, many women face this battle in life. It definitely sounds like you are on stage 1 of ID without anemia. I too was recently diagnosed and have been taking iron tablets now for 3 months, you will definitely feel an improvement once you begin your therapy. You will also have to learn to eat all the essential foods rich in iron (molasses, cereals, beetroot, beef, greens) which will assist to increase your ferritin levels (backup stored iron). I take 100mg of iron a day with vit c which helps iron to be absorbed into the blood.

    Fatigue, dizziness, cold hands, brittle hair and nails, loss of hair are all symptoms of ID.

    Hope this helps you and you get sorted with your therapy.

    hi, thanks. well, I was in stage 2/3 borderline, just going into 3 from 2, meaning fully depleted iron stores and many of my red blood cells were anemic. but yes, I felt better in a few weeks after starting on iron, hemoglobin and MCV recovered back to normal range, and I got my iron stores fully reloaded within 2.5 months, I went from ferritin of 6 to 96, and then I got retested 6 days later and ferritin was 102 even though I halved the iron daily dosage already. I quickly stopped taking most of the iron after that blood test. (I keep taking a little amount of supplements as my sport activity causes a lot of iron loss so it will be good to maintain my iron levels)

    I will say I did not give any thought to eating beef or beetroot because I hate that stuff. molasses I don't think are the best idea. we do not have fortified cereals in my country. but, iron supplement of 2x100mg on empty stomach with 2x1000mg of vitamin C was enough iron anyway

    I did not have many of the symptoms you listed (except for fatigue), but I had a lot of others that I listed in this thread and all went away within a few weeks of taking the iron supplement in a therapeutic (i.e. high enough) dose.

    you say you have been taking tablets for 3 months, have you rechecked your hemoglobin and ferritin yet? 3 months may be enough to refill stores if you've been aggressive enough with your iron therapy. I certainly was

    Last edited by hmm82; 07-26-2011 at 10:10 AM.

     
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