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I'm really confused now. I had blood work done that showed slightly low RBC, hematocrit and hemoglobin. The doctor suggested that I take an iron supplement. Well, I was curious to see if my iron was indeed low and if it was how low. I just got the results back and my iron, TIBC and saturation are all well within normal ranges. What could this mean? I've had my Folic Acid and B12 tested previously and they were normal as well.

Thanks!
Laura,

My mother's iron is normal, but hematcrit, hemoglobin and platelets are low. She's being treated for thrombocytopenia anemia, taking aranesp injections and getting blood transfusions.

She's in her 80's but never had a problem until 2 years ago. Age can be a factor because as we age our bone marrow may slow or even quit manufacturing more red cells and platelets, which is likely her case. However, age aside there are other things that can cause anemia,and that does sound like your potential diagnosis. Like you, her iron was okay, but they did start her on iron to see if there was any change in her labs before referring her to a hematologist/oncologyst. She does not have cancer, and the referral scared me, but at least locally, it seems that the hematologist are also oncologyist. I don't know if that just goes together or not.

You've probably seen ads on TV for procrit. Aranesp is the same type injection to help build the blood up, but for those like my mother who also have heart failure which is also causing less kidney function, then Aranesp is used. The injections help keep the hemocrit and other counts built up a little while or another way to look at it is that it helps slow the drop in the counts. She gets those just once a month and then when the hemocrit is in the 10.5 to 9.5 range AND she is feeling exhausted, then we get her transfused with 2 units of packed cells. The normal range for women is 12-14. That takes place ever 2-4 months, depending on how her body is holding up.

The good thing is that within a day or so after the transfusion, she feels much better. The doc has explained that there are a number of factors which can cause these changes and many can be treated with less extreme action of the transfusions. But, in her case her bone marrow just cannot function any more due to age and other conditions.

You may wish to speak with your doc about referring you to a hematologist if your insurance requires a referral and the iron doesn't help your situation. If a referral isn't required, you may wish to consider finding one on your own. Just be sure that your labs are watched and you drag yourself down to the point of being so exhausted before more is done.

Best wishes.





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