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Confused about ferritin levels

(24 Posts)
PhilPhilConnors Wed 06-Apr-16 16:37:30

A few months ago I was told I had low ferritin levels (17) by my GP, she prescribed supplements which didn't agree with me, I saw another Dr who said my levels weren't low so it didn't matter if I stopped taking them.

I've since seen other drs for the same reason, I'm constantly tired, woolly headed and stressed, I have no motivation to do anything, mainly because after dealing with the DC, there's no energy left for anything else. I also have occasional palpitations and various symptoms that fit anxiety, which do go away when I do various breathing exercises, so I think anxiety fits.

A recent blood test has shown I am deficient in vit d, so,I'm starting a high dose for three months, and the Dr has said again that my ferritin levels are low so I should take supplements.
They are on the low side but still within normal levels, which other dr's have said aren't a problem.

I think I've asked this before, but it was a while ago, but what would you do? The GP has left it up to me whether I take iron supplements. I'm seeing her tomorrow to discuss it all, but wondered what anyone else thought about it, and if there's anything I should be asking.

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 06-Apr-16 16:46:53

Sorry you're feeling rubbish, it makes life such hard work!

I've got chronically low ferritin levels and none of the supplements I've been prescribed have made the slightest bit of difference. Pills, vile sugary iron liquid, tranexamic acid to make my periods lighter. I can't be absorbing the supplements, they were huge doses and my blood tests stayed the same.

I'm also B12 deficient, just don't absorb it, which is treated by B12 injections. As that now works they've given up on the ferritin issue. My (female) doctor told me there was nothing I could do while I was a menstruating female so I'd get used to it.

As it is, the injections makes such a massive difference I feel pretty good most of the time. Knowing my relatives I'll be a menstruating female for a long old time to come so it's just a case of making do with what works.

Hopefully the vitamin D supplement works and makes you feel better. How are your B12 levels? Have you had them checked?

While your symptoms might be anxiety related I've definitely seen them as symptoms of B12 deficiency so do get a full blood work up if you haven't had one recently.

Sorry if I sound like a B12 fanatic, but it's been the answer for me to years of exhaustion and I wish they'd recommended it before rather than saying low levels were alright. Definitely worth checking is all.

Good luck!

mumcantmakeadecision Wed 06-Apr-16 16:52:01

i have low ferritin levels, slightly less than Dr told me that it should be in the low 100s ( woman in her 30s and menstruating)) up to about 307?
he mentioned blood transfusion if i don't get it higher and pretty quick.
i have been taking the meds prescribed by dr, upped iron rich foods and started taking a mulit vit. If you have been feeling rough id take the meds.

PhilPhilConnors Wed 06-Apr-16 16:52:02

As far as I know they were checked and were ok, but I'll ask tomorrow.
I just want to feel better!

PhilPhilConnors Wed 06-Apr-16 16:54:38

IIRC the normal levels were between 12 and 300 (or something like that), which seems a hell of a range!
It's confusing that to one GP that's a problem and likely to be contributing to general crapness, but to others it's not a problem at all.

mumcantmakeadecision Wed 06-Apr-16 16:56:53

it seems like there is a lot of variation in what is seen as normal. my Dr said low 100s was optimal for my age etc, seemed to be pretty convinced that all my med issues were down it being so low.

Haggisfish Wed 06-Apr-16 16:59:26

Lawks! Mine were 7!! Told to take iron and sent on my merry way. I think mine may be related to thyroid issues, which are not bad enough to be treated yet. They would be if I lived in France or USA apparently. Sigh.

mumcantmakeadecision Wed 06-Apr-16 17:00:57

sorry to hijack...what kind of issues were you all having that made you go to the Dr for blood tests in the first place?

PhilPhilConnors Wed 06-Apr-16 17:01:30

I think thyroid issues are quite hit and miss depending on which GP you see, from what I've heard.

7 shock How were you feeling at that point?

AntiquityReRises Wed 06-Apr-16 17:02:35

I find I need to take a regular daily iron supplement to remain feeling well as otherwise I will always dip down to affecting me. I saw the full blood work when I was pregnant and one of the measurements was too little and I think that's why it happens. The hospital prescribed a decent amount of iron which my GP told me I should take 2/3rds of then stop. I thought it best I go with the hospitals decision & remained healthy throughout (and avoided transfusion after haemorrhage). The GP was purely looking at the one number not the whole picture.

Haudyerwheesht Wed 06-Apr-16 17:03:48

God. My ferritin levels were 11 last time I had them checked as part of a bigger test. I was / am suffering from exhaustion.

Doctor said it was normal level.

Realitea Wed 06-Apr-16 17:04:55

Mine were the low side of normal and I felt shocking. Anxiety went through the roof and some days I couldn't get out of bed or eat. I lost so much weight and just wasn't my normal happy self. I had palpitations, dizziness and the wooly head feeling and stress too. I kept saying I didnt want iron tablets as they made me ill.

When this anxiety came to a head, I went back to the doctor and was prescribed ferrous gluconate which is so much better! No side effects at all! After a few weeks I felt great.

I was not deficient in B12. I was just told it was my iron. When I asked what my ferritin levels were, the GP said 'well, thats your iron' so I don't know what the difference is. All I know is that the gluconate version is brilliant! (not sulphate)

I now take this iron and a b vit complex which is great for mood and energy. It's also safe to take as any excess just comes out in your wee!

Janek Wed 06-Apr-16 17:07:41

I had low ferritin levels recently, i told doc that iron pills didn't agree with me, so she prescribed ferrous fumerate, rather than ferrous sulphate. She only prescribed one per day, when the packs said three (!?!). You were supposed to take them on an empty stomach and an hour before a meal, but i feared constipation and they gave me a stomach ache, so i took mine after my dinner in the evening, i figured that iron should be in food, i was taking the iron with food...

Although my tum felt dodgy for amwhile, i did get used to them, and because i was taking them in the evening they didn't seem to cause constipation. And my ferritin level went up.

PhilPhilConnors Wed 06-Apr-16 17:09:04

I'll ask about ferrous gluconate.

I keep having days where anxiety has a real grip, I know the symptoms are down to anxiety, but it's still horrible!

Is your iron and b vit on prescription, or can I order it from Amazon?

Realitea Wed 06-Apr-16 17:16:26

I know how you feel. It's horrible. You just want to go back to being yourself again. You will once you get the iron levels up.
The iron is on prescription as it's a high dose..600mg a day as opposed to the spa tone and supplement levels of about 45mg! I get the b vitamin complex from lloyds, it's only about £1.50 a bottle.
Once your energy levels are up, you'll be able to do more and the anxiety will disappear.

2016namechangecomingalong Wed 06-Apr-16 17:31:53

My ferritin was 9 and iron supplements have never agreed with me, have been aneamic on and off for my entire adult life and only took the tablets when I was pregnant due to the side effects.

Whilst spatone is a lot lower dose, I find I can tolerate it. I take two sachets a day and have increased my levels to 26.9 at the last count. I do feel significantly better.
My GP treats anything below 50 as symptons occur under about there so I will continue to take it. I know it is a long process but it's the only way I can increase without constantly being on the loo or having stomach problems. I buy spatone directly from Amazon.

Good luck to you.

2016namechangecomingalong Wed 06-Apr-16 17:34:05

Just checked my ferritin was 7.9 in April 15 and 26.9 in Oct 15. I am due another blood test in the next few weeks.

PhilPhilConnors Wed 06-Apr-16 17:40:20

That's good to know 2016.
I had spatone when I was last pregnant, good to know that's an option.

2016namechangecomingalong Wed 06-Apr-16 18:01:53

Yes it is definitely a slower option and obviously you have to buy it yourself but it does work. There is a lot less iron in it but the iron is a lot more easily absorbed.

Haggisfish Wed 06-Apr-16 18:28:26

I feel ok, oddly! My haemoglobin and fe levels were just in range, so I'm not officially anaemic. I do get tired easily and a bit breathless but I'm kind of used to it now. I'm taking spat one and liquid iron with orange juice and being retested in three months. It was my exhaustion and anxiety and inability to sleep that sent me to dr originally. Tested positive for thyroid antibodies so it's a case of when, not if, my thyroid will start to fail really.

PhilPhilConnors Wed 06-Apr-16 19:06:56

Spat one grin
That's what Dh and I called it when I was pregnant.

Monkeymonstermum Wed 06-Apr-16 19:12:58

The reason you get fewer symptoms with the gluconate or fumerate versions is that they have less iron...,therefore cause fewer symptoms! Therefore if you get enough of a dose with them to bring up your levels, great but a lower dose of the sulphate should do the same.
If you are taking iron think about taking with vit c as increases absorption and from memory I think tea may limit absorption of the iron so avoid at the same time and space it out a bit.

Spandexpants007 Wed 06-Apr-16 19:15:16

Take ferrous sulphate (or what ever) with vitamin c and avoiding grains/coffee which inhibit absorption. Gluten can effect absorption. Ferrous sulphate is cheaper over the pharmacy counter then with prescription.

17 is low within the ok range. I would certainly take something. I had hair loss with low levels which only stopped once they were 45

PhilPhilConnors Wed 06-Apr-16 19:47:30

I have some high strength vitamin c, so I'll take them at the same time.

I need to get back to low carbing again, my diet is terrible, maybe this will be the push I need to get on with it.

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