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  • How bad should symptoms be?

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    Old 07-16-2011, 08:02 PM   #1
    syrja
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    How bad should my symptoms be?

    Hey everyone,

    So I was diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia about a month ago but didn't start taking iron supplements until last week. I originally went in for testing suspecting hypothyroidism, but it turned out to be anemia instead. I had been feeling dizzy, tired, weak, and cold, and was craving ice.

    I've had these symptoms for several years, but they just recently started getting worse. I got an IUD in February, which makes my periods heavier, so I suspect that's what triggered the worsening. I think I feel a little better since starting supplements, but it could just be in my head.

    From looking at my numbers, it seems like the anemia I have is pretty mild, but I was and am still sometimes getting pretty severe symptoms. I'm wondering what other people's experiences are like who have had stats similar to mine. Specifically, I'm worried the anemia isn't actually causing those symptoms and that it's some other problem yet to be diagnosed.

    My numbers are:

    Hemoglobin: 11.1
    RBC: 3.77
    HCT: 31.9
    Iron : 31
    Ferritin : 4

    I'm a 17 year old female vegetarian.

    What were your symptoms like if you had similar numbers? How long did it take you to feel better on supplements?

    Last edited by syrja; 07-16-2011 at 08:25 PM.

     
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    Old 07-16-2011, 10:12 PM   #2
    frappuccino623
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    Re: How bad should symptoms be?

    Unfortunately I cannot relate my numbers to your own, due to the fact that my doctor told me to start taking a vitamin everyday and to return if I didn't feel better, instead of actually doing bloodwork. So, I took a vitamin, and I felt better.
    As for your own anemia: taking an iron supplement/vitamin will definitely make you feel better, considering you're replacing your lost iron. Also considering your periods were made heavier by the IUD, you would definitely get worse. I don't know the dosage of your iron supplement, but if you feel it isn't helping as it should I recommend to ask your doctor if they recommend to up the dosage.
    As for being a vegetarian, you might actually have to drop that habit. Meat is necessary for health. I'm not one of those "meat enthusiasts," as I don't eat meat every single day or as adamantly, but I would never consider chopping it out of my diet. I warn you only because my best friend ended up losing her colon to colonitis, as her vegetarian body couldn't fight off the infection fast enough. She experienced swelling and extreme heart palpitations. She was 18 when this happened.
    As you're still young (I'm only 19, so don't think I'm condescending upon you, as I'm still developing as well), I definitely recommend to start eating meat. It's easier than having to buy vitamin regiments and go through bloodwork for something that can be avoided.
    Good luck!

    Last edited by frappuccino623; 07-16-2011 at 10:14 PM.

     
    Old 07-17-2011, 02:41 AM   #3
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    Re: How bad should symptoms be?

    I'm currently taking 65mg twice a day and will go in for more bloodwork in 3 weeks.

    I've been a vegetarian for nearly 7 years--far longer than I've had these symptoms. While it's true that iron from animal sources has a higher absorption rate than iron from plant sources, it's still pretty easy to get enough on a vegetarian diet. Nutritional deficiencies are possible whether you eat meat or not.

    Last edited by moderator2; 07-17-2011 at 04:24 AM. Reason: please do not post a commercial website

     
    Old 07-17-2011, 05:02 PM   #4
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    Re: How bad should my symptoms be?

    Your ferratin levels are TOO LOW.... Do the research and you will see..... This is your stored iron, and can cause even more symptoms.... My level was 7 and i just completed 8 iron infusions.... Go back in ten days for another blood test to check ferratin levels... But i had gastric bypass surgery, which caused my iron deficiency anema.... Do not gloss over this... Your other numbers can be fine and still have major problems.... Good luck... But insist on treatment....

     
    Old 07-19-2011, 09:10 PM   #5
    hmm82
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    Re: How bad should symptoms be?

    your anemia is mild-ish but your iron depletion is full.

    with a hemoglobin of 12.1 and ferritin of 6 I felt crap. maybe not as crap as you but bad enough. and yes periods did make it even worse.

    I started feeling much better and nearly normal within 3 weeks of taking iron. I did feel a bit better even in the first week though that was not a lot of improvement, easy to call it mental, though it may have been physical too.
    and the first period (about a week after starting on iron) still got me a little setback but I did not feel anything in the next one.

    ferritin got past 100 in less than 3 months of aggressive supplementing. (hemoglobin also normal now.)

    you've been taking it for a month now so you might want to up the 2x65mg (I assume this is elemental iron content in ferrous sulfate tablets?) to 3x65.

    EDIT: sorry, I see you've been only taking it for a week. ok, so stay with 2x65 for a couple more weeks then up it to 3x65.

    take your iron with a lot of vitamin C. also, 2 hours before and 1 hour after taking iron, do not drink coffee or tea and do not eat foods containing calcium, preferably no food at all.

    one note, yes your symptoms could all be from iron deficiency and anemia, but it could be some other nutritional deficiency adding to it, such as B12 deficiency. e.g. I'm surprised your RBC is only 3.77 really. do you eat any animal products at all?

    ps: I myself don't like meat and don't eat it. I don't think you must eat meat to be okay but you would either want to eat dairy or eggs or even fish - OR take B12 supplements.

    Last edited by hmm82; 07-19-2011 at 09:14 PM.

     
    Old 07-26-2011, 11:09 AM   #6
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    Re: How bad should symptoms be?

    My ferritin was a 3 a couple of months ago, so my reserves were depleted too. My doctors (yes, I saw several during one 10 day period and had 8 rounds of blood tests), they told me that it took YEARS for my levels to get that low - so I was gradually depleting my reserves with heavy and long periods (and my heavy periods turned out to be due to a huge fibroid cyst which I recently had removed with a hysterectomy). My point being, I'm not telling you you shouldn't be a vegetarian, but during the 7 yrs that you have been one, you may have been gradually depleting your red blood stores in your body. Maybe you need to increase something else to substitute for the meat, like someone else said, eggs? I recently found out that beans are not only high in protein, but iron too (you probably already knew that though since you're a vegetarian). But lastly, I felt better after only a few days of being on a prenatal vitamin first (first doctor put me on those) next doctor (hematologist) laughed at me when I said the prenatal vitamins made me feel better saying it would take 2 weeks for those to make me feel better but she said to keep taking it if I wanted to, but she had me work up to 3X/day Farrous Sulfate too. I took it with vitamin C (either orange juice or grape juice or other juice high in vitamin C) and stayed away from dairy products for 3 hrs after and I felt out of this world by the time I reached 2 -3 weeks. Good luck and keep us posted

     
    Old 07-26-2011, 10:43 PM   #7
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    Re: How bad should symptoms be?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjinteriors View Post
    But lastly, I felt better after only a few days of being on a prenatal vitamin first (first doctor put me on those) next doctor (hematologist) laughed at me when I said the prenatal vitamins made me feel better saying it would take 2 weeks for those to make me feel better but she said to keep taking it if I wanted to, but she had me work up to 3X/day Farrous Sulfate too. I took it with vitamin C (either orange juice or grape juice or other juice high in vitamin C) and stayed away from dairy products for 3 hrs after and I felt out of this world by the time I reached 2 -3 weeks. Good luck and keep us posted

    nah, your doctor wasn't right, if your iron deficiency wasn't caused by absorption etc issues, only by nutritional issues (diet not up to the iron requirements), then you can feel better after just a few days of a little extra iron. it was the same for me. but yes it's best to go for more iron and the vitamin C to get normal faster.

    Last edited by hmm82; 07-26-2011 at 10:46 PM.

     
    Old 07-27-2011, 05:53 AM   #8
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    Re: How bad should symptoms be?

    Mine was actually caused by blood loss (hence major surgery I just had last month) but my body still reacted quickly to the iron. I think if the body needs it desperately enough like mine did, it will eat that extra iron right up that its been looking for.

    I wonder when they will want to test me again. Im dying of curiosity to know what my levels are now 7 weeks after my surgery and now approaching the 2nd period that my body didn't have to lose blood to. Maybe they wait since they had to give me 7 units of blood during and after my surgery. Wait to see where I level off after a certain period of time?

     
    Old 07-27-2011, 10:44 AM   #9
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    Re: How bad should symptoms be?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjinteriors View Post
    Mine was actually caused by blood loss (hence major surgery I just had last month) but my body still reacted quickly to the iron. I think if the body needs it desperately enough like mine did, it will eat that extra iron right up that its been looking for.

    I wonder when they will want to test me again. Im dying of curiosity to know what my levels are now 7 weeks after my surgery and now approaching the 2nd period that my body didn't have to lose blood to. Maybe they wait since they had to give me 7 units of blood during and after my surgery. Wait to see where I level off after a certain period of time?

    as far as I recall your blood loss wasn't constant, just when you had your period?

    2 months waiting is good because RBCs last at least that long. I can understand the dying of curiosity

     
    Old 07-27-2011, 10:59 AM   #10
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    Re: How bad should symptoms be?

    Right, the blood loss they figure was happening gradually for approx 10 years that I had super heavy periods. Then of course major loss happened in surgery (of course internal bleeding had to happen to ME, the one that had no blood to lose in the first place, going into surgery). So I'm curious about whether or not I'm even anemic anymore! I'm going to have to request another round of blood work by the end of the summer. But then again, I'm still taking iron, so how will I even know? Hmmmm.... have to think about that one... I guess if I was on the high end of the range, I'd drop the iron - actutally, I'll just ask my Dr.!

     
    Old 07-27-2011, 04:35 PM   #11
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    Re: How bad should symptoms be?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjinteriors View Post
    Right, the blood loss they figure was happening gradually for approx 10 years that I had super heavy periods. Then of course major loss happened in surgery (of course internal bleeding had to happen to ME, the one that had no blood to lose in the first place, going into surgery). So I'm curious about whether or not I'm even anemic anymore! I'm going to have to request another round of blood work by the end of the summer. But then again, I'm still taking iron, so how will I even know? Hmmmm.... have to think about that one... I guess if I was on the high end of the range, I'd drop the iron - actutally, I'll just ask my Dr.!

    I think it's ok taking the iron until the test, though I wouldn't take it before the test. and then depending on the results drop it or keep it for a bit longer. I would say if HGB/HCT/MCV are normal and ferritin is at least 70, you can stop the heavy supplementing.

     
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