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Anaemic and b12 deficient - doctor isn't much help!

(23 Posts)
AnnieBeeBee Sun 06-Dec-15 10:35:24

Hi there,

I wondered if anyone else out there has the same and could give me some advice?

I am really tired all the time. I feel a bit nauseous and dizzy a lot, too. My skin isn't quite the same, I just look so tired.

Anyway, I saw my GP a few times and he did a bunch of blood tests (after I insisted). I came up as slightly anaemic and slightly b12 deficient. He didn't even give me any advice, just told me that it's because I'm a vegetarian.

So I've been taking supplements but it's not making any difference to how I feel.

My family keeps telling me to go back to the doctor. But he made me feel like such a time-waster that I don't want to!

Anyone know if being slightly anaemic and b12 deficient would make someone feel EXTREMELY tired, dizzy and strange all the time?

Or how long supplements take to work?

Thank you!!

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 06-Dec-15 12:25:26

Was your thyroid level checked, what levels were measured?. Your symptoms could well point to a thyroid gland imbalance. Some GPs are simply not up to speed when it comes to such issues.

This is a good website

I would also look into now changing GP practice; it is no use at all in dealing with a GP you cannot readily communicate with. If you go back to the GPs I would certainly see a different doctor.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Sun 06-Dec-15 12:34:54

How frustrating OP. Do you know what other tests were done? And what your exact iron/B12 results were?

What supplements are you taking - how much and in what form etc?

Also do you eat dairy products or eggs?

Sorry for all the questions - but my advice might differ depending on your answers.

JonSnowKnowsNowt Sun 06-Dec-15 12:36:22


AnnieBeeBee Sun 06-Dec-15 15:10:00

Thank you so much for your replies everyone!

The doc checked me for either hyper or hypothyroidism (I'm not sure which). He never mentioned those results so I am assuming they came out ok. Is that the same test, do you think, AtillaTheMeerkat? Thyroid probs do run in my family.

I asked for my blood test results, they said they'd post, but it's been two weeks and nothing hasn't arrived so they must have forgotten, LikeASoul. I'm taking "Wild Nutrition, Iron". And this is the b12:
I do eat eggs and dairy (lots!).

I have often wondered about coeliac, JohnSnowKnowsNowt, because I do feel weird with bread etc. But I avoid eating gluten already.

OurBlanche Sun 06-Dec-15 15:19:13

How old are you?

I ask as pernicious anaemia starts to show post 30(ish) and, if you have it, no amount of oral supplementation will help you will need B12 injections every 11-12 weeks.

And yes, it can make you feel utterly wiped out.

FoggyMorn Sun 06-Dec-15 15:22:06

I'd be wondering about thyroid and Ceoliac too.

What do you mean by "avoiding gluten"? Unless you are being extremely vigilant and reading every single label, you would still be eating enough hidden gluten to make you ill (if you are ceoliac) - it's in bloody everything! Just avoiding the really obvious things like bread/pasta/cake wouldn't be enough (although I suppose it might slow the rate of damage).

Jivetoes Sun 06-Dec-15 15:27:13

I agree with what ourblanch suggested. I have this and it's exhausting, although I have other auto immune conditions that cause fatigue so it's awful some days. I started the b12 injections in August, it was 1 every other day for 2 weeks and then every 12 weeks. Doctors said it can take a while to feel the energy increase and I have not noticed yet but then as I say I have other issues so may not!

AnnieBeeBee Sun 06-Dec-15 16:33:11

I'm 35, OurBlanche. That's v interesting what you say about Pernicious Anemia, I just searched for it on the NHS. My symptoms certainly fit! I will ask for a test!

Oh gosh, Jivetoes, it seems to take ages to feel better. I hope you manage to soon!

You're right, FoggyMorn, my gluten avoidance is just pasta and bread. I don't look at the ingredients of things properly at all. I know, for example, a coeliac wouldn't eat soya sauce. After a coeliac gets diagnosed and switched to a gluten-free diet, do you know how long it takes for the damage to be fixed and they start to feel normal again?

I'd actually like to try for a baby soon... I probably shouldn't until I get all this sorted, it seems!

80sWaistcoat Sun 06-Dec-15 16:45:14

If you aren't very good at absorbing b12, which can happen even if you haven't got pernicious anaemia, then my (lovely) GP saiid sublingual b12 is way to go. 1000microgramme tablets dissolve under tongue so goes into blood stream. Means I don't need injections anymore which I used to have to have every now and then as rubbish at absorbing b12 from food and apparently had the reserves of an 80 year old woman. I'm 46. You might need a higher dose than you are taking. Talk to GP.

Anaemic too so take a feeroglobin every day,. Much Perkier and no longer want to nap in the afternoon.

80sWaistcoat Sun 06-Dec-15 16:46:13

Oh, only took feeroglobin once I'd stopped taking the full course of horrible iron tablets. So it's a top up.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Sun 06-Dec-15 16:56:14

I've got issues with B12 absorption but tested negative for pernicious anaemia. If you're eating plenty of dairy and eggs then I'd say it's unlikely there isn't enough B12 in your diet and therefore you possibly have an absorption problem. In which case, as 80s said, no point taking a traditional supplement - you either need injections or sublingual supplement.

You might find useful.

Agree with everyone else re checking thyroid, coeliac (important for that test that you are eating gluten though) and Vitamin D too.

AnnieBeeBee Sun 06-Dec-15 18:45:07

Oh wow this is so helpful! Thank you! I now feel armed with stuff to say to my GP about both pernicious anemia and - if I don't have it - the possibility that I don't absorb b12 very easily (I have been b12 deficient before actually. Probably never stopped!). 80s

(I also eat an egg almost every day.)

Vit D deficiency is something that had never occurred to me, and I'm sure they didn't test it.

How much gluten do you have to eat before you can get the coeliac test LikeAsoul?

Anyone know if it would be a bad idea to try and get pregnant while b12 deficient or anemic?

MoreSnowPlease Sun 06-Dec-15 20:13:37

I had these symptoms and a lot more and my iron levels showed as good (after taking feroglobin) but symptoms still awful. Anyway, to cut a long story short, get the doc to check your ferritin which is your iron stores, apparently these should be above 60. Mine were something like 13 and even though they didn't seem that concerned I was literally suicidal with ask the symptoms I was having. After taking gp prescribed iron is got much better

AnnieBeeBee Sun 06-Dec-15 20:22:36

Oh gosh wow MoreSnowPlease! I am glad you're doing better now. I didn't even know there was a difference - I am going to book an appointment tomorrow armed with all this new knowledge!

How long did it take you to get better?

wannabestressfree Sun 06-Dec-15 20:28:49

I have pernicious aneamia due to crohns. I have injections- five back to back- then every couple of months.
I know when I am getting 'near' injection time due to feeling dizzy, sweaty, low and generally unwell.

Yseulte Sun 06-Dec-15 23:16:48

Change your GP sounds shit.

OurBlanche Mon 07-Dec-15 09:38:29

DO NOT get pregnant until you know. B12 is a folate and folate deficiency is to be avoided and dealt with prior to getting pregnant. My GP was scarily adamant about that, way back in the 80s.

Go back to your GP and talk it all through, in light of your wanting to conceive.

AnnieBeeBee Mon 07-Dec-15 11:46:26

Oh gosh thank you for the warning, OurBlanche, more motivation for me to sort this out really quickly!

Incidentally, does anyone know how long it takes for b12 levels to get back to normal when you take the right vitamins?

OurBlanche Mon 07-Dec-15 11:58:39

It can be a very speedy process. Weeks rather than months in most cases.

Your GP should be able to talk you through it all and give you a reasonable time scale. Simple blood tests will monitor your levels.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Mon 07-Dec-15 12:05:43

B12 injections get you back to normal very quickly Annie

Not sure how much gluten - sure someone else will know? I just know you definitely need to be eating some.

Monkeyinshoes Tue 08-Dec-15 20:51:23

I've just been tested for coeliac, waiting on results. Doc said to eat it for a few weeks before being tested but I checked the Coeliac Society website and they say to eat gluten in more than one meal for six weeks before testing.

superbfairywren Fri 11-Dec-15 19:20:55

I would try to get these issues resolved before trying to get pregnant if you can. I have had on and off iron and b12deficiencies and I was much worse during pregnancy, had to have an emergency b12injection as levels were so low and was on iron tablets whole time and after baby was born. Definitely get tested for absorption intrinsic factor, they should have done this with the b12tests but if they haven't make a fuss.
GPS can be funny with b12 problems and make you test under a certain number over a year or so before they will prescribe the injections so really push to get it sorted asap if you want to try for a baby.

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