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I completely understand how you feel. I start to become symptomatic as soon as my HgB drops into the 11 range. In the low 10's, I start to feel really bad. I am in the mid 8 range right now and it is terrible.

I am very short of breath, fatigued, and dizzy. I am having leg cramps, irregular heart beats, cracked lips, sore tongue, fast resting heart rate, and fainting spells. Not fun at all.

The medical literature really downplays the symptoms of anemia from what I have read. Most doctors I have seen told me that most patients do not become symptomatic until they have moderate-severe anemia but that has not been my experience.

There is really little about the effects of low ferritin but I have read that exercise performance is reduced in female athletes that have low ferritin without anemia.

Your three sets of labs do show a drop but the dates are quite far apart. If these three labs are part of a pattern, then you are becoming anemic but very slowly. Do you have any risk factors for anemia? Do you have heavy cycles that could be causing you to drop slowly? Have you had a baby in the last couple of years? Have you changed your diet? Become a vegetarian maybe? Are you taking a PPI for acid reflux? All of these can deplete your iron stores and then allow you to progress to anemia.

Do you see your GI doctor? That is a good place to start. You could ask for a referral to a hematologist. I hope you get some answers and that you start to feel better soon. In the meantime, I would keep taking the iron and eat an iron rich diet. My MD has me take folate and vitamin C when I am anemic. Vitamin C helps with the iron absorption and folate is needed to make new red blood cells. Good luck.

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