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Is it normal to feel horribly weak and exhausted after exercise with anaemia? Last test I had my ferritin was 6 and haemoglobin was 11.5 (not that low) back in Feb. I've been taking supplements sporadically but not that much because I kept reading how bad they were but my doctor told me last week that I had to be on them because my levels were low. But sometimes I just feel terrible and I'm wondering if it's normal to feel terrible with anaemia or should I be getting a heart check up or something? I'm really scared (and cross with myself for not taking the supplements...) I've just had my periods (sorry for TMI) and it was a very heavy one, so I guess that wouldn't have helped. Any advice/support would be appreciated.
Yes, this is very normal. When my ferritin was 5 and I was very mildly anemic (just like you, my counts were at about 11.7). I couldn't do more than 15 minutes on my treadmill and I felt TERRIBLE for a DAYS afterward. I had to give up exercise.

Iron supplements are not *bad* if you need them. They are only bad to take if you do not have a deficiency. It is very important that you do what you can to build up your iron levels.
Trixibel--It is so normal to feel the symptoms that you have. I encourage you also to take iron. Your doctor will monitor your blood levels and you will not have to worry about too much iron or it being bad for you. For people like us, it is almost impossible to get too much iron because that is our problem in the first place:(. It shouldn't take you too long to get to the non anemic range which is a good thing. It's the ferritin that takes a long time for many and iron replacement is the only thing that can possibly build these stores. If you eat meat, start eating red meat 3X weekly and this too can help raise the stores a little faster IMO. You do have to fix the heavy bleeding or you will be spinning your wheels. I was unable to raise my stores until I fixed the bleeding then my body responded right away. Have you thought of options yet? FLFLOWERGIRL:)
my sister is a gynae and has been urging me to get a mirena iud. I've been avoiding it because my husband's had a vasectomy thus we don't need contraception so it feels like taking coals to newcastle. but last night I felt so desperate that I said I'd think about it and I think she's going to make me an appointment with one of her colleagues. We don't eat a lot of red meat because it's soooo expensive unless you make casseroles with really cheap cuts and my kids won't eat casseroles! They only eat sausages and mince - so I'll need to eat more mince and spinach! my sister told me her partner's ferritin is 770! Can that be right??
The Mirena IUD will help. My cousin has one (not for birth control reasons--just to stop the bleeding) and she LOVES it.

A ferritin of 770 is REALLY high and that doesn't sound good.
Trixibel--If I didn't have an ablation I would have had the Mirena. There are not too many options. I hope you find something that works well for you. Let us know how it goes if you decide to have this.

A ferritin of 700 can either be due to having an iron overload disease such as Hemochromatosis (my husband has this, his ferritin was 2800), or some other inflammatory disease process going on that can falsely elevate the ferritin. Anything over range the doctors want to treat DX and treat. It can become serious over 1000. What does your sister think that your ferritin should be at? FLFLOWERGIRL:)
She hasn't said but my GP said it should be over 50. I don't know how long that will take. I take ferrograd f which has equivalent to 25 mg ferrous sulphate. All I know at the moment is that I can't walk up hills and up stairs (actually I never have been able to very easily, even in my 20s) so it makes me think my ferritin's been low for ages because I never had a blood test until my first pregnancy (at 24) and I don't know if the pregnancy bloods include a ferritin test or just haemoglobin but I know I was anaemic during my second pregnancy and was on supplements then. I was a very prem baby (32 weeks) and my mother said she had to give me iron as a baby.
I have a Ferratin of 4 and feel quite tired and a bit breathless. My hemoglobin is normal. Did you feel tired? Was your hemoglobin normal?
Trixibel - Noticed you take Ferro-Grad F, is that the one that doesn't contain vitamin C? as i've now got the Ferro-Grad C and it has 500mg vitamin C and 325 mg dried ferrous sulphate and is much more than the 25mg in the one you are taking. When levels are low people often find they need a higher dosage as too low a dosage often doesn't do enough. Vitamin C is also necessary to help absorb the iron.

Did your sister actually say her husband's ferretin was 770? or was she referring to something else to do with iron? It also depends on lab ranges. Maybe the lab which processed his tests uses a different range. Ferretin can get up to 125 without causing dramas and that is my doctors goal for me. I think when it gets somewhat over 125 that they begin to worry, not sure how much over.

Apparently people of Celtic origin are predisposed to having higher ferretin levels naturally and it is genetic. They should not be taking iron supplements without having their levels tested first or they will get iron overload.

I'm in Australia too and yes meat can be very expensive. Sausages, unless you buy the expensive ones which contain real meat are fine, but 'snags' are basically rubbish and contain no real nutritional value at all. I would only buy them to have once in a blue moon, not as something to be included as a regular meal. Mince is ok, but depending where you go they use old/expired meat, dip it in a preservative which makes it look fresh and red again and then mince it. What i find is the best thing to do is check out meat prices at various places. I never buy my meat at Coles or Woolworths these days as their prices are so inflated, although Woolworths seem to have their specials on a monday evening so maybe you could stock up then. Not sure which day/night Coles have their specials on. I have found a couple of butcher's shops who do certain quality cuts of meat much cheaper than the big super markets. If you have red meat roughly 3 nights per week and then have white meats and fish the rest of the nights you should be fine.

It's not just the iron you are getting from meat, it's a host of other vitamins and minerals. If you can't afford meat or choose to go semi vegetarian you need to include nuts and pulses in your diet. My naturopath told me that eating almonds, brazil nuts and cashews together equates to the same protein level as in a meat dish. You can buy a spread containing these nuts to put on sandwiches. You can find this in the healthfood section of any Coles or Woolworths supermarkets.

The protein you get in meat is also important as protein is needed for your hair, skin and nails, for your thyroid function and for your liver, for your metabolic rate, pretty much for everything. I'd be getting my protein and cutting out something else unecessary in my life as your health is the most important thing.

You will likely find you wont be able to do much exercise till your ferretin gets much higher as you don't have sufficient iron stores and therefore not enough oxygen in your blood and this is why you tire so easily. I'd leave out the exercise until your levels get a bit higher and reserve the energy for other things.
Hi, :)

[QUOTE]The protein you get in meat is also important as protein is needed for your hair, skin and nails, for your thyroid function and for your liver, for your metabolic rate, pretty much for everything. I'd be getting my protein and cutting out something else unecessary in my life as your health is the most important thing.[/QUOTE]

I wonder what people with kidney disorders who are limiting their protein intake (from any source) are supposed to do when their iron levels become severely depleted?

I have been limiting my protein intake but still eat chicken, fish, seafood, dairy products and cheese. I have stopped eating nuts due to their high protein and caloric content. For people with cholesterol issues and on cholesterol medication, eating red and fatty meats is simply [U]no[/U]t a good idea. I feel completely lost when it comes to my diet. Fruits and veggies contain a lot of potassium - they are a major component of almost ANY healthy diet, but not so good for the diseased kidneys.
I now wonder if I might have somehow caused my low iron levels by eliminating red meats? :confused:

flowergirl
flowergirl - i'm not familiar with kidney disorders so i can't really comment on what you can/can't do. My comments were geared towards those who can consume meat and other protein dishes. The more i research into low iron and my thyroid issues the more i'm coming across so many things which appear to be essential yet our bodies are having problems absorbing.

Actually with protein, there is a whey protein on the market which comes from plants and not from animals. I wonder if that one is ok for you to take if can't handle the one from animals.

You mentioned taking cholesterol medication.... i can't recall where i read it, but it was in the last couple of days and it was regarding people balancing their essential fatty acids eg: Omega 3's and 6's via fish oils and general diet. There was more to it, but i can't recall the rest. If i find it i will post it for you as it was a very interesting read.

If you have anemia, cholesterol and kidney problems do you also have a thyroid problem? I believe kidney disease is also an autoimmune disease as are thyroid problems. It's not uncommon for people who have thyroid issues to have elevated cholesterol and blood pressure among other issues.
Audrey, :)

[QUOTE]If you have anemia, cholesterol and kidney problems do you also have a thyroid problem? I believe kidney disease is also an autoimmune disease as are thyroid problems. It's not uncommon for people who have thyroid issues to have elevated cholesterol and blood pressure among other issues.[/QUOTE]

thank you for your informative post. My TSH is within normal limits. I know that this alone is not an indicator of a good thyroid function and other tests, such as a freeT3, are needed. I assume the thyroid function is OK since my neck looks normal. I am not sure what the symptoms of a dysfunction are, but attribute my constant arm and hand tingling on both sides to possibly a deficiency in some mineral or vitamin, or an excess of the same. But really, to be honest, I don't know why I have it. I've had it for some time now (months). Can low iron cause the tingling and numbness? You mentioned Omega3s and fish oil. I take fish oil supplements daily. They are essential to our health and easier to consume than frequent servings of fish :)

flowergirl
flowergirl--tingling and numbness are usually signs of a B12 deficiency. B12 deficiency gives "neurological" symptoms while iron deficiency usually gives cardiac/respiratory symptoms (lack of oxygen/red blood cells leads to heart issues, breathing issues, fatigue, etc).
Christine, :)

[QUOTE]tingling and numbness are usually signs of a B12 deficiency. B12 deficiency gives "neurological" symptoms while iron deficiency usually gives cardiac/respiratory symptoms (lack of oxygen/red blood cells leads to heart issues, breathing issues, fatigue, etc[/QUOTE]

thank you very much for that. I will have to look into it. My ex-doctor was not concerned and yelled at me to worry about the real issues (whatever!!!) -not aches and pains. My new doctor does not know about it yet. I'll make sure to mention it.

In addition to the tingling and numbnessin my arms and hands, I have every single cardiac/respiratory symptom of iron deficiency you mentioned, and then some. :(

flowergirl
flowergirl--Whenever you are DX'd with anemia or low iron/ferritin you should always be tested for B-12 and Folate too. It is also quite common to have both deficiencies at the same time. I however also have some numbness and tingling but they haven't found a cause yet. My B-12 is in the 800's and has never been low. Usually B-12 is 400 and under when it presents with neuro symptoms. FLFLOWERGIRL:)
flowergirl--I know that they say it is normal:(, but that is ~very low normal~ to me. This is just my opinion as a patient. They say it is low when it is 200 or less. Your number might very well be causing your tingling symptoms. There was someone else here that was ill at 400 with many symptoms. The good thing about this, is that you can raise it on your own, and it is not dangerous in any way. You cannot get too much. It does have to be sublingual, you probably already know this stuff. FLFLOWERGIRL:)
Flflowergirl,

[QUOTE]The good thing about this, is that you can raise it on your own, and it is not dangerous in any way. You cannot get too much. It does have to be sublingual, you probably already know this stuff.[/QUOTE]

I do not know [U]ANY[/U] of the stuff you mention. How could I? All this is [U]brand new [/U]to me. Until a few months ago, I had a doctor who was not willing to listen to any new issues as they arose, be it side effects or symptoms. I now have a doctor who is simply great. It will take time to go over everything that needs to be dealt with.

How can I raise it? Do you mean the B12? How is it administered and in what form?
Thank you for your help!
flowergirl
flowergirl--Sorry:o!

It takes years to deplete B-12 stores, 2-5 I believe, this is from memory;). You are on the low end of normal and definitely will benefit from replacement therapy. Doctors usually give IM injections if you are under 200. This is not your case so you can do the exact same thing through sublingual liquid or tabs (under the tongue) form of B-12 that you get from the vitamin store or a supermarket. It needs to be in the form of [B]Methyl[/B]cobalamin, which is the best form of absorption. The common form of B-12 is [B]Cyano[/B]cobalamin, this is NOT the one to get. You take this under the tongue once a day, I take a B-12 complex and my B-12 is 800ish, you cannot get too much B-12 it is completely safe.

I'm glad that you have a good doctor now to help you. FLFLOWERGIRL:)
Great information, Flflowergirl.

Thank you very much. I wrote down the name - Methylcobalamin - and will pick some up on my next day off. Just to be sure, I'll check with my pharmacist. She has been great in helping me with my meds and many related issues, making suggestions along the way, questioning a couple of the scripts. I like it when a pharmacist catches a doctor's mistake!

I will ask about any possible supplement/drug/supplement interactions, and whether my calcium supplements might affect the absorption of this vitamin. I wonder how come my B12 level is low - I've been taking a daily vitamin with minerals and there should have been ENOUGH of the B12 in it. I guess there wasn't!

There's an excellent database my pharmacist uses. This supplement database encompasses the results of all available supplement (mineral & vitamin) studies to date. There's a summary and analysis of the results of all studies ever done relating to a specific mineral or a vitamin. In other words, the most up-to- date information available. Oh, what I'd give to gain an access to this site. I've hinted....and hinted....I am not giving up just yet. However, I am quite certain it is for pharmacists only. :(

flowergirl
flowergirl--Good luck with this. FYI--I sent my Dad to get Methyl--B-12 because he takes the other kind and the pharmacist didn't have a clue what he was talking about but it is a well known fact. It helps a lot with energy too, YES! FLFLOWERGIRL:)
flowergirl2day - there is so much to learn and one thing most people on this board have learnt is the way doctor's love to use the word "normal" or "within range" , but we're onto them and no fooling us now :D
Hi guys - is serum iron the same as ferritin? WHen I rang up for my recent blood test results they couldn't tell me the ferritin, she talked about serum iron. Am I within my rights to ask them to fax me a copy of the results? The doctor is obviously too busy to call me and obviously would have called me if there was a real problem but I would like to know for sure.
Trixibel, ferritin is your iron stores and is a different test than the serum iron. The doctor has to request it on your lab form. You are perfectly within your rights to request any results of your tests, but it sounds like the doctor did not order it.

Do you know what your serum iron result is? Did they do any other test, like HGB or HCT or other CBC panel tests? If you have these, you should post them. There are alot of people here on the board who are very helpful understanding these numbers.

By the way, this is very typical and I am not sure why. But doctors frequently don't request ferritin unless your other values are showing signs of anemia.
my serum iron was 11, haemoglobin 115. I've been on supplements for two weeks and went for a walk yesterday and it didn't exhaust me like it usually does so maybe things are looking up. thanks for your response.
The serum iron doesn't really tell a whole lot because it can change quickly throughout the day depending on your diet or if you are on supplements.

Your hemoglobin seems to be just below normal for a woman (or right at the edge of normal--depends on the range). When my hemoglobin was at 11.7 and my ferritin was at 5, I felt HORRIBLE.
Flflowergirl,

[QUOTE]It needs to be in the form of Methylcobalamin, which is the best form of absorption.[/QUOTE]

I talked to the pharmacist and asked her opinion about starting this vitamin rightaway. Since I could not tell her exactly which tests and labs I'll be having and when, she recommended not taking ANYTHING until instructed to do so by my doctor. She said he might have had a good reason for not starting any supplements rightaway. Although the vitamin is perfectly safe, as you mentioned, it can and does alter the labs and can affect some tests. I do get a little bit of it in my daily multivitamin. A drop in the bucket, I know. :) Thank you!

flowergirl
Unfortunately with your low ferritin levels any strenous exercise will leave you feeling tired and may even deplete your stores further. Try upping your vitamin C as it will increase the amount of iron you absorb. I would take a break from exercising for a month or two while trying to increase your levels. Having low ferritin levels can make you feel really ill- mine was 8 last month so I know how it can feel. I have posted on how I raised mine if you want any ideas.

Hope you feel better soon! :D





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