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Hi,

I have a my new primary care (certified nurse practitioner) who wanted to do some routine blood work since it'd been a while since anyone had done that. A few days later at the Red Cross before a donation that my Hgb level was pretty low for a guy (but high enough for them to take blood!). I called the CNP and asked for an iron analysis and it showed pretty poor numbers:

Iron Sat = 4 (normal 20-50)
Iron/Fe = 22 (normal 65-170)
TIBC = 503 (normal 250-425)
Hgb = 11.3
Hemocrit = 35.5
MCV = 75
MCH = 23.8
MCHC = 31.8
RDW = 15.8

Since I had just donated blood though, we repeated the tests a month later but got basically the same results (slightly worse).

Iron Sat = 3
TIBC = 519
Hgb = 11.4

We have found no evidence of blood in my urine or stool. I eat an iron-rich diet but this iron issue is sort of "all the sudden". In addition, I'm now experiencing unexplained weight loss. 15 pounds in 1 month (9 lbs in just the last 2 weeks). I'm not trying to lose weight, no exercise (too tired), no significant change in my diet. I've never been able to lose weight that fast, even with walking 3 miles / day and eating salad all the time. My appetite is diminished though I think.

I have been very tired for the last few months. Not just tired because I'm overweight, but literally exhausted beyond anything I've ever had before. Out of breath all the time, going up stairs is completely tiring, my legs ache 1/2 way up. Things feel heavy in my arms. I'm experiencing frequent dizzy spells, light headiness, heart racing, etc. I'm having trouble concentrating and staying focused at work, etc. I've read most men have Hgb levels around 15, anything below 13.5 is considered low and could cause these symptoms.

They have me taking iron supplements now but we still don't have a cause for why my iron would be so low all the sudden? Everything I've read says the low-iron anemia is not a diagnosis but a symptom of something else. I've requested a Lyme disease test as my symptoms are similar and I'm an avid outdoorsman and a tick bite isn't out of the question.

Am I right to keep pushing my primary care to find out WHY my iron is low in the first place? Any advice or words of wisdom are appreciated. I think I'm on the right track but I just feel like taking iron supplements now is just masking another problem we haven't found yet. I want to know WHY my iron is low. I want to make sure it's not something more serious causing it. My CNP also said she would be referring me to a Hematologist so I think that's good to go see a specialist.

Thanks in advance!
~Mike





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