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[QUOTE=steph74;3340340] Yes, 1. Why the discrepancy? [COLOR="Red"]There is no discrepancy with this. I would fully expect your hemoglobin levels to be low with a ferritin of 1. My hemoglobin dropped down to 11 when my ferritin was at 5, so it makes perfect sense to me.[/COLOR]The doctor was very agitated about how "severely anemic" I am--she said she would transfuse me except for the risk of HIV. I'm a little confused. Which number is more important?[COLOR="Red"]She is probably concerned with both numbers but the almost non-existent ferritin is probably what is most alarming to her. You have no stores left--this is why you can't properly make red blood cells.[/COLOR]

I pretty clearly have iron-deficient anemia and now the question is why. I am a vegetarian, but I eat a VERY healthful diet and include many sources of iron. (Of course everyone secretly thinks it's my diet, but I don't.)[COLOR="Red"]Even the BEST vegetarians have a problem with iron. While you may be eating TONS of iron rich veggies, it is non-heme iron and it is poorly absorbed. Even when you do everything to maximize it, you are only getting a tiny amount of it from your food. I just finished reading The China Study. The author is a HUGE proponent of a vegan diet and all its associated health benefits. But he even says that if you do this, you really need a B12 and iron supplement. It is extremely hard to get it from a veggie diet. Also, our food quality has gone down to boot so the nutrients just aren't there.[/COLOR] I
(1) Which level, hemoglobin, hematocrit, ferritin, etc. is the most important number here?

[COLOR="Red"]Ferritin is the most important for monitoring the status of your iron deficiency. Once it is determined that you are iron deficient, ferritin becomes *the* number that is looked at. However, hemoglobin and hematocrit are extremely important while you are in the stage of anemia. You want to see that go up quickly, or at least stabilize.[/COLOR]

(2) Are swollen hands and feet a symptom of anemia? (This one is new to me!)[COLOR="Red"]I never had this problem myself but that doesn't mean it's not a problem.[/COLOR]

(3) I'm taking 2 slowFE a day (three was pretty intollerable). Is this sufficient?[COLOR="Red"]For as low as you are, I'd say that it is going to be a long, slow climb out of it. Sounds like you need a prescription iron to me.[/COLOR]

(4) Should I be seeing a hemotologist instead of an internist?[COLOR="Red"]As long as you know the reasons for your anemia and the internist is responding appropriately, I don't believe a hematologist is needed. However, if you are not responding to basic treatment or you don't know the cause, a specialist would be the next step.[/COLOR]

It could be that those particular iron supplements just don't agree with you.

Sometimes the types of binders they use in slow release pills can cause nausea issues. You may want to try a regular type of iron

I remember when Prilosec first went over-the-counter. I had been taking it just fine in its prescription form. When it went OTC, they changed the formulation--it's a tablet versus a capsule. Whatever the the binder was in the OTC tablet made me HORRIBLY queasy, so I can't take it.

I suspect that something in the Slow FE, rather than its iron component, is bothering you.

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