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Low Ferritin
Feb 23, 2007
I have a question for people with low ferritin. I would like to know how you are coping with it? For people with ferritin 20 and under, do you feel any affects because of it? Mine is 23 and I usually feel horrible. I'm extremely tired, my joints ache sometimes and I have very bad dizzy spells. Are you able to function during the day, get through a day of work, engage in social activities? I'm hardly able to do these things anymore, even though I've raised my levels some. It seems that even the specialists just keep telling you to take iron and eat red meat. I don't think the vegetable with iron are helping me much. Do any of your doctors suggest IV iron or a more aggressive treatment? It's hard to believe people can walk around with levels of 4 and 5 and doctor's just tell them they're normal. At one time my doctor was telling me she wanted mine at around 50, but since I've raised mine to 23 from 4 she just wants to leave it at that.
Re: Low Ferritin
Feb 24, 2007

I know we've discussed this before. My GI doc did agree that Prilosec/Nexium *would* interfere with iron absorption. In order to get iron out food, you need stomach acid. With Prilosec/Nexium you get reduced stomach acid, therefore, you get reduced iron absorption. It can also block the iron absorption of supplements. So, I try to take my Spatone Iron (which is gentle on my stomach) when I *think* that my Prilosec is wearing off. I also try to eat a grapefruit or orange with it to give some acid and Vitamin C. For the first 6 weeks I was on it, it seemed to be working as the actual anemia corrected itself. I got a very big jump in my hematocrit. I think I went from a 34 to a 37. As for my ferritin, I am told that this could take years to go up.

So, I think that the Prilosec/Nexium is ONE component of my iron deficiency. I don't think it is the total cause. Many, many people take this drug every day and do not get this. So, there has to be other factors involved. My period is heavy, but not terribly so. But maybe combined with the Prilosec, the two factors equate to anemia. So, I am considering going to my GYN and getting a Mirena IUD inserted. This will reduce and/or stop any menstrual bleeding for 5 years. You know, it just cannot hurt my situation.

Lastly, I have totally stopped all NSAIDS use. My endoscopy last week showed stomach bleeding. I had been a fairly heavy Motrin user (for years) and I think I was getting bleeding from that also. So, there are three things there causing bleeding. If I could "fix" just one of those things, I think it would go a long way toward improving my iron stores.

Pika, have you tried any of these things?

fjones--I see you are in Washington, DC??? Have you found a good doctor to help you with this. I am still at the GP stage of things (and the gastro doc of course) but am wondering if there are any good hemotologists out there in case I need one. I have to agree that I think, number 1, my job has been affected the most by this. It is just so hard to tell, though, as I have been in the same job for 15 years and am bored with it anyway. But, now it is to a new level of boredom and I think part of that is my medical condition.
Re: Low Ferritin
Feb 24, 2007
[QUOTE=fjones1;2818678]By the way, aren't you still anemic if your ferretin is at 5? Doesn't it have to be in the normal range, 10-291 to not be considered anemic, along with your hemaglobin?[/QUOTE]

No, if your hematocrit, hemoglobin, and RBC are all within the normal range, then you are not anemic--no matter what your iron situation. If those counts are normal, but your ferritin and iron saturation are below normal, you are then just considered iron deficient (without the anemia). From all the informal research I've done, some in the medical field believe that iron deficiency is a much larger/bigger problem then most doctors realize. Since no one really tests anyone's iron until the anemia shows up, no one really knows for sure how many people walk around iron deficient.

There is a pattern to iron deficiency anemia that is well documented. The first stage is some form of iron deficit (either by diet or by bleeding). For awhile this goes on and then iron stores start to drop. At this point, there is no anemia because we have lots of iron stores. The iron, over a period of probably years, gradually drops. When it gets to a point where it is very low or almost nothing, the anemia starts because your red blood cells have no more to draw on. So, anemia is the very last stage of iron deficiency. Correcting it works in reverse. With iron supplementation, the red blood cells quickly use that new iron and the anemia part often corrects in a matter of weeks to months, however, the iron stores take *forever* to build up. You have to realize that your body is using the Spatone that you drink every day. It uses it. If there is *any* leftover after what your body needs for that day, it will go into storage. This is why building up the stores is so slow. What also doesn't help is if you don't correct the cause of your iron loss. So you are constantly doing a battle to see if you can put more iron into your body than you are losing AND using. Does that make sense?

Have you determined why you have this? Is it from menstrual flow? Also, have you taken more than one packet of Spatone a day? I have not yet done that but am considering it. The Spatone literature suggests that you may do this if you want faster results and if you can tolerate that much.

Also, like you, I tried several different supplements (one from Whole Foods, one drugstore brand, and a plain One-A-Day vitamin). They tore my stomach up so bad that I was in misery. I don't know how people can take them either. My mom took Vitron C for years and never had a stomach issue with it--just constipation.

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