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    Old 08-09-2007, 11:09 AM   #1
    Tifferzz
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    I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    Well, I finally got the Ferritin Test done like some here suggested that I get done. I've been having a lot of symptoms over the past year (I will repost them here). Anyway, I went to the doctors back in June, she thought that I either had a Thyroid Problem or Anemia. My Thyroid tests and my anemia (regular blood work), came back normal. I posted those labs in another post a little while back.

    Then a few people asked me if I had my Ferritin levels tested. I had not. I decided to order the test online, from an online lab because I did not want to ask my doctor if we could have it done, because I didn't know what she would say since my regular blood work came back ok. Here was that, I will post it real quick:

    HGB: 14.1 -- Normal Lab Ranges: 11.5 - 15.3

    HCT: 41.6 -- Normal Lab Ranges: 34.0 - 45.0

    MCV: 87.5 -- Normal Lab Ranges: 80.0 - 98.0

    MCH: 29.6 -- Normal Lab Ranges: 27.0 - 34.0

    MCHC: 33.9 -- Normal Lab Ranges: 32.0 - 36.0


    So, anyway .... I just got my Ferritin results back today and this is what my level was:

    Ferritin, Serum: 21 -- Normal Lab Ranges: 10- 291


    I believe someone said here ... that a womans Ferritin should be like 70 or something like that?? Is that true? Do you all think that I should send a copy of this to my family doctor? I am afraid she may not do anything because technically my Ferritin level is within the normal ranges. I know some of you here know wayyyyyyyyy more about the Ferritin stuff than I do.

    I will re-post some of my symptoms too. I have had lightheadedness off and on for about a year now. Sometimes that is really scarey especially if I am out like at a store or mall and it happens. I am always afraid I will faint while at a store etc. I have lost a lot of weight and I am not dieting or trying to lose weight. I have lost 20-25 pounds since the beginning of the year. My hair is BIG TIME thinning. I do not have bald spots, but my hair is really getting thin. I am ALWAYS tired and fatigued with no energry, no matter how much sleep I get. There are days where I just feel really weak ...... and there are times where my arms and legs feel weak and I just need to lay down. I bruise easily!! I always have at least one black ad blue mark on me. Right now .... I have about 4 of them, and I have no idea how most of them get me! Sometimes I will lightly bump something ... next day I have a bruise. Sometimes my brain is like it doesn't want to think or like I cannot concentrate. I lost my sex drive and also have vaginal dryness and then I have a lot of brown spots on my face .... which I think may be from the birth control pill?? I think I mentioned all of my symptoms here.

    But anyway .... for those of you that know about Ferritin levels and stuff, could any of my symptoms be from my Ferritin level? Or do you think my Ferritin level is not causing my problems? Any help or suggestions that you can give me, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you all!!

     
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    Old 08-09-2007, 12:18 PM   #2
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    Your ferritin is way too low and could account for many of the symptoms you described.

    Optimal ferritin (for women) is between 70 & 90, NOT lower.

    Mine was 15 when I had it tested last year. I got short of breath easily & that went away after about 6 weeks on iron supplements. But I kept taking it much longer than that. (My hemeglobin was never less than 12 either!)

    I found a slow release (ferrous fumarate- active ingredient) iron supplement to take. Mine tablets were 50 mg.and I took 4 a day for a while.

    I took it after I ate. Iron is absorbed better if you take it with Vit C or eat Vit C rich foods with it.


    You may want to gradually work up to whatever dose you decdide on. It will likely take you months to get your ferritin up to 70.

    What was your TSH?
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    Old 08-09-2007, 01:28 PM   #3
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    Ok, thank you GCC. I am wondering if my doctor will do anything. I just got done faxing over copies of the Ferritin test results. I am just afraid that she won't do anything since it is technically within the normal lab ranges. I also have been searching on the internet for more information on low ferritin and it's symptoms, but I am not having any luck finding anything on it. I have actually never heard of ferritin till someone mentioned it to me here on this board. Do you know what causes ferritin to be low?

    My TSH on June 22, 2007 was: 0.79 -- Normal Lab Range (0.34 - 5.60)

    My TSH on July 16, 2007 was: 0.958 -- Normal Lab Range (0.300 - 5.000)



    I'll post the other Thyroid stuff, it says they are all normal though:

    July 16, 2007
    Total T4 - 8.30 -- Normal Lab Range (4.50 - 12.00)
    Total T3 - 1.340 -- Normal Lab Range (0.800 - 2.000)
    Free T4 - 1.04 -- Normal Lab Range (0.70 - 1.80)

    *I thought my gyno. wanted to do a Free T3, but only a Total T3 was on the results. So, I never had a Free T3 done.

     
    Old 08-09-2007, 02:07 PM   #4
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    My previous endo treated me for low ferritin when I was at 38. I didn't stay with her for other reasons but she was good on spotting and wanting to treat the ferritin. After alot of research I agree that ferritin should be around 70 but I know that alot of docs would probably just say you are in range and want to leave it at that. Maybe even the majority of docs. I personally don't understand this attitude.

    As to all your symptoms , I can't say what may be due to low ferritin. The blood work to my eyes looks good. It's the ferritin that could use help. Do some reading on the net about anemia and its causes. Maybe you can find a book at the library too and look at the book store as well. The American Iron Foundation has a book out. I think that was the name of the organization, probably check on the net. Also I read an article by docs at Mayo connecting low ( below 70) ferritin to restless leg syndrome. When my ferritin was 38, the doc also had me do an upper endoscopy to rule out malabsorption prob. The procedure showed no problem. I am a vegetarian and so I get little dietary iron.
    When you do your research you will see that they say anemia is a symptom. You would need to figure out why your ferritin is low. Is it dietary deficiency, is it inability to absorb iron in what you are eating due to celiac or something, is it heavy periods- you get the picture.If your doc won't do anything I don't think it is a good sign. Why not try to help you 1. figure out why ferritin is low and 2. get your ferritin up. If your doc is not willing to help then maybe change docs, or go to another doc for a second opinion.

     
    Old 08-09-2007, 02:57 PM   #5
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    You don't need your doctors blessings or permission to take iron to get your ferritin up to an optimal level. In a few months you can re-test it yourself.

    I didn't ask my doctor what I should do about my low ferritin. I researched it and did it on my own. Most doctors are taught that "normal range" is fine for lab reports, that's why it is labeled "normal". But I want optimal levels, not just within "normal range". Many "normal ranges" are far too wide.

    Your low ferritin could be from some heavy periods and years of not eating enough iron rich foods. Also, blood loss during child birth will no doubt lower your ferritin.

    Low ferritin can cause infertility too. The OB's don't seem to know this either.

    Upon closer inspection, (and despite your low TSH) your other thyroid numbers are all below the middle of the range. Most people report feeling their best at or above the middle of the "nornal range", you are below the middle of the range on all counts. Do you smoke, I have read that smoking can give a lower reading to a TSH.

    TSH is a pitutary hormone and is not the most important hormone to consider. It should be thought of as a screening for thyroid problems.

    The free T3 and Free T4 are the measurement of actual thyroid hormones that are able to get into the cells and do the work.

    The Free T3 is the one that is so important to measure when people are on T4 only meds like Synthroid, because over time the Free T3 will get lower and lower even with a good free T4 and low TSH.
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    Last edited by GCC; 08-09-2007 at 04:03 PM.

     
    Old 08-09-2007, 03:51 PM   #6
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    As GCC says it is true you don't need your doc's permission to take iron, you can decide to take it yourself BUT as low ferritin may be indicative of other problems all the anemia literature says you should find out WHY you have low ferritin or /and anemia. Finding out why whether it be your absorption, internal bleeding, etc is best done by medical procedures like an endocscopy or perhaps colonoscopy . For example if you have a bleeding ulcer or hemerrhoids or polyps causing blood loss, iron is not going to take care of these conditions. Or, if you have celiac a disease which destroys your ability to absorb nutrients from what you ingest be it read meat or iron pills- you are going to have to deal with the celiac disease. Most sources that I read said that generally low ferritin should be checked out for the cause because with our western diet most people would have adequate sources of iron . Now , I don't know the validity of that statement but why fool around wasting time treating yourself if you have a source of internal bleeding or a malabsorption issue that NEEDS to be dealt with. That's just my thoughts on the topic and everyone is entitled to make their own conclusions, and medical plan. I just wanted to say there are some pretty serious health conditions that may cause low ferritin that one would want to know about at the earliest possible time .

    My endo was very interested in why I had a ferritin level of 38 as well as vitamin d deficiency and considerable bone loss. She suspected an absorption problem due to celiac as I was taking calcium and vit d. It turned out not to be celiac. But at least that was ruled out. My vit. d intake had to be substantially raised and I was supplemented with iron for about 4 months. I saw improvements in both. I am also at the age where colonoscopy is recommended as a matter of course and that is going to be done. I think the iron deficiency was due to my vegetarian diet but I don't know for sure. Some people have posted that hypothyroid and low ferritin seem to have some sort of relationship. In any event I feel better knowing that some things can be ruled out. My bone situation is quite serious so I don't want to have other serious conditions develop . I want to keep as healthy as possible to keep up my exercise and take the bone medication and thyroid meds. I need to take with out having to add other meds. The more meds you have to take the more complex things get.

    So, this is why I hoped you could work with your doc to find out why your ferritin is low. GOOD LUCK!

    Last edited by osteoblast; 08-09-2007 at 03:53 PM.

     
    Old 08-09-2007, 03:58 PM   #7
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    My Doctor likes the Ferritin to be at least 70 and only believes in Natural liquid Iron that you get from the Healthfood store......... if that helps any.

    Oleander

     
    Old 08-09-2007, 05:13 PM   #8
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    First, thank you VERY much GCC, osteoblast and oleander53!! It definitely helps when you all post things that you know from your own experiences!! So thank you very, very much!!

    I definitely do not get heavy periods ... but that is due to the B.C.P. When I was a teenager and before I was on the pill, my periods were heavy. But since I have been on the pill, they are not heavy at all and only last 3-4 days. The weird thing is .... I do eat meat, I probably eat some type of meat .... like 5 days a week. Unless maybe you need more than that? I do eat veggies, except for spinach LOL. I definitely do NOT eat liver though .... I was reading to eat Liver if you have low ferritin but there is NO way that I can eat that!! I do smoke. I smoke like ...... a half pack a day ..... BUT when I do smoke ... I go out to the garage, smoke half of it .... then I go out later to smoke the other half. So when I do it like that ... it saves me from smoking a pack a day. I know I need to quit. I actually quit last year (March 2006) when I still had energy. I quit for almost a month. But then I started back up again. I know I need to quit now ... but I cannot quit right now until I get my energy back! That way I have energy to go for walks and stuff like that again when I try to quit. If I tried to quit right now, it wouldn't work LOL. I do have a child ..... but that was almost 13 years ago, so that wouldn't affect my ferritin right? Since it was sooooo long ago. I don't notice any internal bleeding. I never see anything when I have a B.M. Would I see something there if I had Internal bleeding?

    I will definitely try doing more research to find out more about low ferritin levels. Ohh and one good thing is ...... my doctor is sending me to an Endocronologist ...... I am just waiting for them to contact me. She said if they did not contact me by the end of the week, that I am to let her know. When I faxed her over copies of the ferritin test I had done ..... I let her also know that the Endocronologist has not contacted me yet. Is that who does ferritin stuff?? An Endo. ??

    I should probably fax over copies of the ferritin results to my Gyno. too right? My Gyno. is actually sending me for a few tests, I just have to wait till I have my period and am off the B.C. pill for a few days. He is sending me for a FSH, LH and Testosterone test, I just cannot do the test right now which stinks! I have the lab order form here .... just have to wait till I am off the pill for a few days during my monthly friend.

    Again thank you all VERY much ..... I appreciate what each of you have to say. It helps me to learn more ..... when I read what you all have gone through, especially with the same things .... like the low ferritin, it gives me more clues to things that might be causing my problems. Also, since you all have said to push for at least a 70 ferritin level ..... then I will be sure to make that a point at any future doctor appointments.

     
    Old 08-09-2007, 05:50 PM   #9
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    From what I have read, you may not know if you are bleeding internally.It was my endo that tested my ferritin level so hopefully you can get the endo on board about figuring out why your ferritin is low.

    As I said , my ferritin was 38 and I had basically not eaten meat for over 25 years -so your ferritin of 20 something with meat nearly everyday of the week is something to look into for sure. Let us know how it goes!

     
    Old 08-09-2007, 06:08 PM   #10
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    Thanks again osteoblast! Did your docs. every figure out why your ferritin was low? So your doctor had you take iron supplements? Is your ferritin back up to where it should be now? If your ferritin level is back up to where is should be, do you notice a difference in how you feel?

    I will definitely let you all know how I make out with all of this. Thanks so much!!

     
    Old 08-09-2007, 07:05 PM   #11
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    The reason I asked if you smoke is that I have read that smoking will make your TSH lower than it would be other wise. Making it more likely that a hypotyhroidism diagnosis would be missed and your free T3 and free T4 levels are even more important.

    If they re-test your TSH don't smoke on the day your blood is drawn (and maybe not even the day before or as little as possible).

    I think your free T3 and free T4 are low because they are both below the middle of the range. That could be why you have a low ferritin too.

    Ask your new endo what he thinks optimal free T3 and free T4 levels are for someone your age. I don't think below the middle of the range is optimal.

    Do you have other hypothyroid symptoms? Low blood pressure, high cholesterol, low body temp (especially in the morning), constiped often, need lots of sleep, fatigue, weight gain, can't lose weight, loss of outer eyebrows?
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    Last edited by GCC; 08-09-2007 at 07:06 PM.

     
    Old 08-09-2007, 08:06 PM   #12
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    Hi GCC, that is good to know about smoking and low TSH levels. Hopefully I can quit here soon! If I have to get another TSH before I quit .... I will try not to smoke much before the test and definitely try to not smoke the day of the TSH test.

    I will ask the Endo. (when I go), what the levels should be. I have never been to an Endo. Doctor before, so this is going to be all new to me. Also, not sure if it helps, but I am 34 years old.

    No, I do not have low blood pressure. I actually have sporadic high blood pressure. That is one of the reasons why my family doctor wants me to see an Endo. My high blood pressure is sporadic. I have to log it here at home, then send her the results every so often. Sometimes my B.P. is fine, and sometimes it is high. My cholesterol is normal, just had that done and it was not high. The times I have taken my temp. it has been normal or just a TINY bit below normal, nothing that stands out as low. I have been having bouts of constipation over the past few months. Before then, I never had that problem!! I have the opposite problem normally .... and that has been that way since I had my gallbladder removed a few years ago. So now I have bouts of constipation along with my usual bouts of the other way. I do NEED lots of sleep. Usually I get 9-10 hours a day. Even with getting that much, there are days I feel totally exhausted. If there are days where I have to get up early .... and say I only get like 6 hours of sleep .... I HAVE to take like a 3-4 hour nap later in the day, otherwise I CANNOT even go on any further. I get to where my brain cannot think, I get REALLY grouchy and just feel like I HAVE to lay down and sleep, so that is what I do on days that I only get like 6 hours of sleep. I am definitely fatigued!! I am about 5'5" and I weigh 125 pounds. I have lost weight since the beginning of the year. I use to weigh 145-150 and that is what I have weighed for like the past 5 years or so. Now I am down to 125 without trying to lose weight. No, I have not lost my outer eyebrows. Just my hair on my head has really thinned. It is to where I have problems with keeping it in a ponytail. The ponytail thingies ... slide off of my ponytail. I thought maybe the ponytail thingies were just old and streched out, so I went and bought new ones (same kind I always buy), and they still fall out of my hair LOL.

    I think I answered all of the questions you asked.

     
    Old 08-10-2007, 01:35 PM   #13
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    Grrrrrrrrr, so I talked to my family doctor today. She said that she received my papers that I faxed over yesterday. She said that she does not worry about Ferritin levels if the regular anemia blood work comes back ok. So, I was like ok. My problem is ...... I have a hard time arguing with people LOL. I know I should stand my ground.

    I go to the Endocronologist September 28th ..... first time ever seeing one. So, we'll see what this Doctor says about things. Maybe since it is an Endo. doctor, maybe she will know more about the Ferritin levels and where they should be and hopefully she will help me.

    Oh and GCC, how do you figure out where your Thyroid levels are? You said something about it being a calculation or something? How would I figure mine out to know if I am in the lower, mid, or high region? Thanks!

     
    Old 08-10-2007, 01:52 PM   #14
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    To figure out where the middle of the range is...

    Higher range number - (minus) lower range number = _______

    divide that number in half & that gives you__________


    add the halved number to the lower range number

    and that gives you the middle of the range.


    Then see if your number is close to the middle of the range or lots higher or lots lower.

    I hope that makes sence, it is not easy to explain
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    Old 08-10-2007, 01:55 PM   #15
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    Re: I Did The Ferritin Test Like Some People Here Suggested I Get-Lab Results

    The hemeglobin ususally does NOT get low until the ferritin level is below 10!

    You can have low iron symptoms when your ferritin level is below 50!

    I had shortness of breath and heart palpitations when my ferritin was low.

    Your doctor must have been absent on the day they went over this.
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