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anaemia very iron deficiency

(53 Posts)
bunface Wed 13-Aug-14 17:03:22

Just wondering whether someone can explain to me my blood test results. Two of mine have come back abnormal. The receptionist said that I am iron deficient and anaemic. She said that these were the two abnormal results. She said the ferritin was 8. Can anyone explain because I thought these two were one and the same. Also is 8 really bad? Thanks all. Feeling a bit anxious!

bunface Wed 13-Aug-14 18:48:50

Bump! Wondering why I feel so rough! Will docs just give me iron tablets?

RockinD Wed 13-Aug-14 19:34:44

Your results are pretty much meaningless without the reference ranges, which may vary from place to place and may be calculated in different units, so when you go to see the doc, try to get the range as well as the result. You are entitled to this information. Under the Data Protection Act, your results are your data.

Having said that, 8 sounds pretty low for ferritin. It should usually be about 70 for you to be symptom free.

Your doc will probably want to give you ferrous sulphate, which is cheap, but if you are below the reference range ( as I think you might be) ask about an iron infusion, which would bring your levels up much quicker than any oral medication.

bunface Wed 13-Aug-14 21:23:02

Thanks for that. I will be having a phone consultation with my doc tomorrow so will ask. I didn't know any of that. I think it's been going on for a while as I feel terrible and have done for a while.

bunface Wed 13-Aug-14 21:30:07

Can I ask you Rockin, are you medically trained? If so I can tell the doc that I ha had medical advice!

GarrettHnatiuk Thu 14-Aug-14 06:45:03

The most important thing i feel is that they uncover the cause for your low blood stream count. You need a diet filled with iron i.e leafy green vegetables several cereals and red meat. I think you will feel better soon, take care.

bunface Thu 14-Aug-14 07:31:25

Thanks Garrett. I'm pretty sure the reason is very heavy periods. I'm 48 so they are getting pretty horrendous. I will make adjustments to my diet too.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 14-Aug-14 07:45:06

I would also be wondering what the actual cause of the anaemia is; heavy periods can indeed cause such problems to arise. Fibroids are a common source of heavy bleeding.

Many GPs are simply not up to speed when it comes to such problems so I would be requesting a referral to a gynae for further evaluation.

RockinD Thu 14-Aug-14 09:15:17

Sadly I am not medically trained.

I am layperson who has had to learn a lot, fast, in order to recover her health in the face of appalling treatment by the NHS.

Kewcumber Thu 14-Aug-14 09:23:55

Ferritin measures your iron stores in your tissues and haemoglobin measures the amount of iron in your blood which enables you to transport oxygen around your body (paraphrsing there as I beleive in fact they are both proteins but close enough)

Ferritin of 8 is on the low end of normal and personally my consultant would be transfusing me with iron at that level but for most people your GP might just recommend iron tablets for a few months particularly if you are anaemic.

In my experience doctors tend to treat anaemia and/or iron deficiency on a symptom basis rather than straightforwards results.

I get symptomatic with ferritin levels below 12

You can have low iron stores without anaemia and anaemia without low ferritin depending whats causing it.

Unless you have other abnormal blood results eg low b12 then I would think its highly likely they will just ask you to take iron tablets - anaemia is so common in premenopausal woman that it would cost a fortune to investigate every one for no particular reason. However if your anaemia is very bad (ask your GP) and you don;t have heavy periods then you might want to ask him/her to retest in 3 months.

Kewcumber Thu 14-Aug-14 09:29:40

From memory normal ferritin ranges are 7-115 (or similar) but if you ask your GP for a print out of you blood results it will include the reference ranges.

Low haemoglobin will indicate anaemia

This is all over simplified btw but as you are speaking to GP soon no harm in over simplifying.

bunface Thu 14-Aug-14 23:46:36

Spoke to the doc today. She wants me to have an ultrasound to look for fibroid. My hb was 10.3. Is that very low? I've been put in ferrous sulphate 3 times a day so I hope it kicks in very soon. Felt really lousy today.

RockinD Fri 15-Aug-14 09:37:55

You might want to consider starting at one ferrous sulphate tablet a day for a week or so, then raising to two and then to three so it's not too much of a shock to your system.

If you find you don't get on with ferrous sulphate, try ferrous fumarate, which you can buy OTC and build up in the same way.

No matter how you feel, go back in three months and get tested again. That way, if your levels are not rising as fast as they should, you will know.

Kewcumber Fri 15-Aug-14 19:19:03

From memory Hb 10.3 is just anaemic not very low but combination of HB around 10 and Ferritin around 8 would be enought ot make me tired but not quite enough to have me breathless walking up stairs.

Takes a while to kick in I'm afraid - weeks rather than days in my experience.

bunface Sat 16-Aug-14 09:06:22

Thanks Rockin and Kew. I've started the tablets at 2 a day for now and so far no side effects apart from black poo! I will have to be patient about feeling better. Just so dog tired all the time. The mornings are the worst. Feel shaky and achey.

Kewcumber Sat 16-Aug-14 11:43:32

I think iron tablets take 2-3 weeks to have an effect on Hb, I think ferritin levels take longer but increasing your Hb will have a bigger effect that increasing your ferritin.

Hope you feel better soon.

ballofworry Sat 16-Aug-14 19:03:48

hi all i to have low ferritin 9 last check ...f (always have had on and off ) feeling tired whizzy fogy thinking , iv been on iron for 4 weeks or so 3x a day each time i start to pick up i get my period and heavy , then im back to feeling bad again ....
is HB red blood count or an other test ?

waiting to see doc on tuesday to get results from recent bloods to see if levels have picked up ....

bunface Sun 17-Aug-14 00:35:22

Hi Ballofworry. Hope your levels have gone up. Hb is the red blood count and if this is low, thus makes you anaemic. If Ferritin is also low, you have iron deficiency anaemia. Are the docs investigating your heavy periods?

ballofworry Sun 17-Aug-14 08:17:17

hi there , my ferritin was 9 and HB 24 1 under within "normal "range so they wern't concerned , im hoping that both levels improved when i get recent results tuesday ...
iv always had low ferritin looking at levels through the years as i did with doctor other week highest iv ever been is 15 ...
quite heavy periods and short cycle ..and lack of green veg ....
i have iBS also was wondering if having trouble absorbing but they didnt think so , just slightly anemic due to periods ...
how you feeling ?

Kewcumber Sun 17-Aug-14 10:51:43

If you have problems absorbing iron then the tablets wouldn;t work.

I don't absorb iron - have to have it infused annually in hosptial. When I was first being investigated I was on iron tabs for 3 months and my Hb and Ferritin didn;t shift one bit (actually thats a lie - they dropped!)

ballofworry Sun 17-Aug-14 11:48:35

oh gosh kewcumber poor you , hope you feel better for infusion though ..

Kewcumber Sun 17-Aug-14 12:10:24

Its really not a big problem ballofworry - I have had it for years now - 3 monthly B12 injections, annual iron infusions (which aren;t pleasant but I can have them as a day patient).

The annoying time is the time between realising my iron is low and getting a referral for an infusion when I feel tired.

But had one in Feb so am quite perky just now!

ballofworry Sun 17-Aug-14 21:23:27

oh good , id love to feel that way so tired fogy thinking and whizzy at times to do exercise again but just so tired ....

ballofworry Sun 17-Aug-14 21:30:06

oh and thinning hair ....

ballofworry Tue 19-Aug-14 08:13:32

off to docs now get blood results .... fingers crossed hmm

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