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Hello Friends,

I had my blood work done for the first time and I've been diagnosed with Iron Deficiency Anemia. I'm Male, 32 yrs of age & physically active. Also, I think I may have been iron deficient since a long time.

My 'Ferritin' & 'Iron % Saturation' is really low. However Hemoglobin & Hematocrit looks okay. Isn't it contradictory? I thought if I'm anemic, my Hemoglobin has to be low as well.

I had no blood loss ever, and diet is good enough to meet daily iron needs. So, my doc was also confused that why my iron is so low. He advised me to take iron supplements twice daily for now.

What do you guys recommend? Below are the relevant readings from my blood work report:

*** Iron & TIBC ***
Iron 41 ug/dL Out of Range (45-160)
UIBC 385 ug/dL Out of Range (110-370)
TIBC 426 ug/dL (228-428)
Iron % Saturation 10 % Out of Range (25-45)

*** Ferritin ***
Ferritin 7 ng/ml Out of Range (30-400)

*** CBC w/Diff ***
White Blood Count 5.6 k/ul (3.8-10.8)
Red Blood Count 6.01 m/ul Out of Range (4.20-5.76)
Hemoglobin 15.3 gm/dl (12.5-17.1)
Hematocrit 46 gm/dl (36-50)
MCV 77 fl Out of Range (78-96)
MCH 25 pg Out of Range (26-33)
MCHC 33 g/dl (32.20-35.60)
RDW 15.8 % (13.1-16.8)
Platelet Count 332 k/ul (150-400)
MPV 8 fl (7-12)

Let me know if this info is sufficient.

Hello and Welcome although I'm sorry that you have had to join us. It is a little unusual for a young male to be diagnosed with IDA so it is good that your doctor is scheduling the colonoscopy. If your ferritin and iron are low it can mean that you are losing blood somewhere through internal bleeding so that is what he wants to check out. You have to find out whay your levels are low. Do you donate blood on a regular basis? Another problem for the IDA is celiac - have they done a celiac blood test on you? you should ask for one. by any chance do you take a PPI? you know like Nexium or Prilosec? it is possible to have malabsorption due to PPI's. Do you know if they tested your B12 levels? that is important to know.

Don't be afraid of the c'scope - it is really not that bad. The prep is not pleasant the day before but the actual procedure will be done while you are sedated (be sure to tell the GI doc that you don't want to be awake) and you will not feel a thing. As soon as I was diagnosed with IDA I was sent for a c'scope even though I had one just 18 months prior. They may also want to do an upper endoscopy to see if there is any bleeding in the stomach. the c'scope doesn't see the stomach.

It is very possible to have low ferritin and iron yet have normal hemotocrit and hemoglobin levels. You are considered clinically anemic when one of the three Hgb, Hct or RBC fall below range. My numbers were similar: ferritin was a 5 and iron was 25, saturation was 5 but H & H were okay.

After the scopes showed no bleeding, they started me on iron supplements: Poly Iron 150 mg tabs two times a day for a total of 300 mg a day. I took them for 5 months from November to April. Since my Ferritin rose to 40 and Iron improved to 55 the Doc said stop the supplements and come back to see me in 6 months. My %Saturation only went to 16 which is up but still not normal but she's the doctor not me. I'm a little concerned obviously because it did not improve and my ferritin is not really that good. According to many of the gals here they say it needs to be well over 50.

Wish you the best - keep asking questions here and at the doctor's office. You need to stay on top of your health and be sure to get copies of all blood tests and reports from procedures like the scopes. It sounds like your doc is on top of things but you can never count on anyone but yourself so you ned to be your own advocate.

Hopefully some of the "experts" will chime in with some advice for you. I'm laearning as I go along.
pcutil--Hello again! :wave:

Anemia is [B]ONLY[/B] a [U][B]symptom[/B][/U] not a disease in and of itself. It is telling you that something in your body is not working correctly. You have to find a cause. I was taught that it is not proper to begin iron supplements without first finding a cause for this. That is the first step, next would be to DX and eventually treat according to findings. Blood loss is the most common cause for IDA in women. [U]This is clearly not your case [/U]so it is important to begin looking for the culprit, there is one and you have to find it. It took me over a year to find mine. And I am still not so sure it is a definite cause, who knows? I have to remain on iron for the rest of my life, that is my prescription.

If you are seeing a PCP at this point I would highly recommend that you see a GI doc next. They are the profession that is experienced with types of malabsorption syndromes and other related issues to be ruled out at this time. There are many gastrointestinal conditions. We are just mentioning the most frequent that appear here on the boards. There are (AI's) autoimmune diseases and many things. There is no reason to wait 3 months in my opinion [U]being a male without known blood loss[/U]. Colonoscopy and endoscopy would rule out several things for you and should be one of the steps in diagnosis for you and even perhaps a small bowel study. No, you do not need to worry about colon cancer at this point. It is not just due to blood loss. There are many things that can and do go wrong within the GI tract. When going through these periods of not knowing, and uncertainty, the best practice that I have learned myself is NOT to worry UNTIL you have something to actually WORRY about. This is so true. It will save your sanity many times. So, don't worry about it. Just run tests and learn all that you can. Especially with a long history as you say. Hair loss can be due to many things; low ferritin and protein just to name a couple. However, there can be many causes for this.

Celiac is one of the first things too that should be ruled. Malabsorption is not uncommon in IDA because the iron is absorbed in the duodenum (1st segment of small intestine) and the upper part of the jejunum (2nd segment of small intestine), you should also have your Folic acid levels checked because they are also malabsorbed in Celiac and so is B12 but to a lesser extent. Whenever Anemia is present B-12 and Folate always need to be checked. Many doctors believe it or not, do not always run these tests which are a necessity. I didn't see that you have had these tested either! This is a must.[B] Even if you are not anemic [/B]at this point your ferritin is low for a reason.

You say you are physically active, are you overactive in sports? This can lead to a low ferritn. Use of certain drugs, i.e., advil can cause bleeding in the stomach too, if you use any of those. Any stomach problems?
None of us claim to be doctors, we are only able to give our personal experience and what we have learned from it. You need to consult a specialist to get proper diagnosis. I hope this has helped a little.

We are here for your support. Keep us posted. FLFG:)

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