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Hello all

In Mid May 2015 I developed shortness of breath, which I thought would go way, but when it didn’t in 2 days I went to ER. After checking my heart (everything was normal including stress test (except that heart rate went up in the end, which I now realize could be due to low Ferritin), hemoglobin (upon my insisting as I am normally low on that) and my thyroid (I am hypothyroid for the last 20 years and it is under control with Eltroxin), the doctor couldn’t find anything wrong and said it is stress/anxiety and put me on heavy dose of anxiety medication. I took it for 3 days felt good so didn’t take the 4th day. The next day shortness of breath came back with a vengeance. Since then I have been on various kinds of anxiety tablets, and have tried to wean myself off a couple times. I finally stopped it completely about a month ago.

Meanwhile, as the anxiety tablets weren’t really helping me because I was feeling fatigued, couldn’t walk much, would have shortness of breath when climbing stairs so much that I dreaded climbing any stairs at all. I had to go on a vacation during this time and booked wheelchairs at the airport and even got wheelchair at a big mall. The anxiety/stress diagnosis that the doctors had forced on me, somehow didn’t make sense to me due to reasons above mentioned. So I discussed on net with a friend who was a friend who is medical professor who was the only one to point out the cause of a problem I had in 2009 (my doctor wasn’t even able to tell me the name of the disease back then, and had made me do CT scans, MRI, etc. All of which had come normal).

He told me to check my iron, ferritin and TIBC levels, which I did while on vacation. The country where I did the tests, the normal ferritin range is 6-284 and mine was 9, so I thought everything was ok. The friend doctor was in a different country so we didn’t get to correspond after I sent him the results.

When I returned to my country I submitted my blood test results to my doctor, who check them after 4 days and called and told me my Ferritin was very low and I need to take supplements. I told her it was within the range, but she said 9 was too low. I checked my old medical records and found that back in 2013 my Ferritin was 20 and at that time too she had said it was low and had put me on supplements. The reason she had done this test was to determine why my hemoglobin was always low. It took almost a year my Ferritin to go to 40. After that I stopped the supplements. And my diet isn’t very good when it comes to iron. I don’t eat red meat and eat just about 2-3 pieces of chicken a week. While I do eat the veggies, not much of the dark leafy greens. I do eat nuts and seeds.

The iron supplements gave me kind of diarrhea (which made me very weak) and acid reflux within 8 days, so I stopped it for 2 days and the acid reflux went away, but then my shortness of breath came back very heavily and I went back on very low dose of anxiety tablets, which didn’t help. After 2 days I increase the dosage of anxiety tablet and felt a little better.

I read on the internet that iron deficiency can cause anxiety, but the doctor insists that I have stress so have to deal with it. I am doubtful about that. Has anyone been in similar circumstance where the shortness of breath is attributed to anxiety/stress although the Ferritin level is as low as 9, or as my doctor puts it, it is a combination of iron deficiency and stress.

My hemoglobin and iron levels are within range (lower side of the range). My Vitamin D was found to be low at 17 about a year ago and with strong supplements it is now 30. My Vitamin B12 is within range but on the lower side, so the doctor has put me on supplements and also gave me a shot, which I have to repeat in a week’s time.

I read that people with hypothyroid have low stomach acid due to which many of us are low on iron, B12 and D. And the suggestion given was to add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (ACV) to the water we drink as that will make up for the low acid in the stomach and would help absorb the nutrients from the good. I have been taking ACV for the last 6 years to help with my food allergies.

My question is how can I bring up my ferritin levels up quickly? Ferrous Gluconate (which agreed with me in 2013, doesn’t seem to agree now, and I know that what I got now is a different brand, but can’t remember which brand I used back then). From yesterday I am on Ferrous Sulphate and will see how it works. I am eating small amounts of chicken liver 2-3 times a week, but will stop it in 2 weeks as that can add to cholesterol. I would add green juice and apple shake next week. I eat more chicken and egg now than I did before. I used to take Moringa leaves tea, but that would make me feel like I have a temperature, I now sometimes add the dried leaf powder to my meal. I am considering moringa capsule.

If anyone has experience shortness of breath (which my doctors label as anxiety), would that go away when the Ferritin levels rise? Coincidently when my Ferritin was 20 in 2013 I did have some shortness of breath, which at that time too the doctor called anxiety and put me on meds, but within 3 days of taking that I was fine and threw away the rest of the meds. But this time it has been quite bad, with me not able to walk much, getting tired quickly and climbing stairs are a herculean task for me which I avoid at any cost. I was quite a fit person before May, working out 30 minutes 5 times a week, taking stairs to work every day. I really want to get back to being my old self – SOON.

BTW I am 50 and doing through menopause. I had my periods in May after 6 months break. Not sure if I will have another one in 6 months from that date.

Thank you in advance for the feedback.

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