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I'm new to the world of anemia and new to this board. I have been reading as much as I can here but I'm having a hard time concentrating and reading so much. lol So, I thought I would put my question out here as well just in case.

I had blood work done almost 5 years ago because I had pneumonia at the time. It came back showing that I was anemic. The emerg dr told me to get it checked but I didn't think much of it and I didn't really relish the thought of taking iron pills. I knew about iron pills because I had to take them when I was pregnant and all I knew was that they made me constipated. So, I underestimated the seriousness of anemia.

Fast forward, 5 yrs later, and I am experiencing some really weird symptoms of tailbone pain and constipation. I go to the dr and along with an xray, she sends me for routine blood work. My second visit, she asks me if I knew I was anemic. Ummm okay. I'm steadily decaying by this point. After my third visit, I insisted on seeing someone who knew what they were talking about.

Anyways, to make a stupid long story just a bit stupid dr did a CBC as well as a couple other blood tests.
She told me that I was anemic and needed iron BUT the bloodwork doesn't show any test for iron levels!!! So now, here I am, waiting for my colonoscopy/gastroscopy and taking 900 mg of ferrous fumarate and wondering if I'm poisoning myself!!!! I don't trust this dr at all but up here, we really don't have any choice of dr's. (Not private health care in Ontario lol) It's just very hard to find another dr.

I guess I'm concerned about it because I still don't have the energy I had a month ago and the energy peaks and dips at different times. Sometimes I feel good, and then just as suddenly, I feel drained and icky. I'm also experiencing headaches now every day whereas I *never* had headaches in the past. I'm a pretty healthy person and had just started jogging when all this stuff started happening. I hate this fog I'm living in, not to mention the horrible depression that seems to accompany it!

My hemoglobin is 102 ( I guess that would be 10.2) and the hematocrit is .315.
MCH (I don't know what this test is) was low at 26.0 and RDW (don't know this one either) was high at 16.7.

Shouldn't there be an iron test there to determine if it IS indeed iron deficiency anemia that I have?? I have been taking the iron for about 10 days now. Do you think I should insist on having another bloodwork done to check for iron levels? I usually have to tell this dr what to do...
Any help or advice would definitely be welcome.

Thanks so much.

I agree that you probably should have further tests done to ensure that you are dealing with iron deficiency. Most likely, that is what it is since that's what most women have. It would be more rare for you to have a B-12 or folate deficiency.

Anyway, like you, I was not satisfied with just going off a CBC. One indicator on the CBC of iron deficiency anemia is the MCV value. This measures the size of your red blood cells. In long term iron deficiency, the red blood cells will shrink in size and your measurement will be lower than normal. I think the low end of the scale is 80. Mine was at an 83 I think--still normal. I ended up adding on a ferritin test (which is measurement of your iron stores) and a reticulocyte count. Both of these tests are the definitive tests, these days, for iron deficiency anemia. They can do a serum iron test and iron saturation test, but they are apparently not as reliable as the ferritin. But my iron saturation did match my low ferritin scores.

Why don't you stop taking the iron supplements for a few days and call your doctor and ask, at the minimum, for a ferritin test. You will get an idea from that.

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