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  • Do I really have iron deficiency?

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    Old 08-08-2014, 11:07 AM   #1
    perelka's Avatar
    Join Date: Feb 2013
    Posts: 6
    perelka HB User
    Do I really have iron deficiency?

    Since my symptoms started over two years ago (I was 22), I have lost 70% of my hair. My iron status at the onset of symptoms:

    Hemoglobin 13.5 (11.7-15.5)
    Hematocrit 39.3% (25-40)
    Iron, total 160 (4-175)
    Ferritin 18 (10-154)

    After supplementing with 150mg of elemental iron for 6 months (per a dermatologist that diagnosed me with telogen effluvium and advised that I increase my ferritin to 70-80 to stop hair loss):

    Hemoglobin 13.1 (11.1-15.9)
    Hematocrit 39.6 (34-46.6)
    Iron, total 103 (35-155)
    Ferritin 62 (13-150)
    Reticulocyte count 0.6 (06-2.5)

    After supplementing with 100mg of elemental iron for about a year after that:
    Hemoglobin 13.9 (11.1-15.9)
    Hematocrit 42.0 (34.0-46.6)
    Iron, total 82 (35-155)
    Ferritin 59 (15-150)
    Iron saturation 28% (15-55)
    TIBC 291 (250-450)
    Reticulocyte count 0.4 (0.6-2.6)

    I stopped taking iron supplements because I was not getting better, and because I had a few doctors tell me that I should not be on iron supplements because my hemoglobin, hematocrit, MCV, and RBCs were in the normal range. So I stopped for 3 weeks. Yesterday, I had a ferritin test done with a result of 87. This makes absolutely no sense considering I have not taken an iron supplement.

    A physician I saw theorized that I could possibly have anemia of chronic disease, due to a low reticulocyte count, low TIBC and normal MCV. But that doesn't make sense to me either because although my ferritin did increase for some strange reason, it was on the low side before I started supplementing. And, my RBC, hemoglobin, and hematocrit have always been in range, and do not vary much despite supplementation.

    I'm nervous that I shouldn't be supplementing with iron. In addition, my TSH (3.3), and midrange FT3 and FT4 have not changed despite supplementation--one physician theorized that maybe if I increase my ferritin levels, my thyroid levels will get better and I will stop losing my hair. Also, when I went on Naturethroid (went up to 2 grains over 6 months), my TSH decreased, but my FT3 and FT4 did as well--I felt awful.

    I just don't get it. I'm exhausted, and no one can figure out why.

    Any input is appreciated.

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    Old 08-08-2014, 02:21 PM   #2
    kalouise's Avatar
    Join Date: Aug 2014
    Posts: 68
    kalouise HB User
    Re: Do I really have iron deficiency?

    Maybe have your other hormones looked at. The body produces many and you could be having problems leading to hair loss with those too.
    The ferritin doesn't make sense. Maybe retest?
    I lost most of my hair once when I was 21 but I was lucky to have it come back after 4 months. No one could figure out why and they blamed it on a virus. No one checked my iron or hormones, so who knows. Now I am iron deficient (not anemic) and am frightened I may lose it again!
    I would keep supplementing. everyone is different and maybe your body works best at a higher level. Docs always say you don't need to supplement until you are anemic and in the hospital needing blood transfusions! They are reactive, not proactive.

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