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My lab results yesterday shows that my iron saturation at 5% is quite low. I have been feeling like something that cat dragged in for a couple of years now but have only been minimally tested for iron with only CBCs in the past. My hematocrit and hemoglobin levels have been out of range for about a year but not enough to cause any concern. This week was the first time that anyone (a nurse at a doc-in-the-box; not my primary physician) thought to test my iron stores.

What I'm wondering is what are some important pointed questions that I should ask my PCP when I see him on Monday. Does this seem like anemia or iron deficiency... or are they one and the same? Is ferrous sulfate enough to correct these levels? Do I need to see a hematologist? I've always been concerned with my iron levels because my father passed away due to complications from untreated hemochromatosis but my doctors have always told me that my CBCs indicate that I don't have to worry about heriditary hemochromatosis. Kudos to the doc-in-the-box for testing me properly though! They told me that CBCs are only a small snapshot of what the real levels my iron might be, and not the whole picture. Can you think of any other questions that I should ask my PCP?

Below are the results from my blood work this week and a couple others from this past year, plus a bit of my health history:



[U]This week[/U]:

HGB = 11.5 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 11.7-15.5)
HCT = 34.8 [COLOR="red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 35.0-45.0)
RBC = 4.21 [COLOR="Green"]In Range[/COLOR](Range = 3.8-5.1)
MCV = 82.7 [COLOR="Green"]In Range[/COLOR](Range = 80.0-100.0)
MCH = 27.3 [COLOR="Green"]In Range[/COLOR] (Range = 27.0-33.0)
MCHC = 33.0 [COLOR="Green"]In Range[/COLOR] (Range = 32.0-36.0)
RDW = 17.8 [COLOR="Red"]High[/COLOR] (Range = 11.0-15.0)
[B]Total Iron = 24 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 40-175)
TIBC = 437 [COLOR="Green"]In Range[/COLOR] (Range = 250-450)
% Saturation = 5 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 15-50)[/B]


[U]6 months ago[/U]:

HGB = 8.8 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 12.0-16.0)
HCT = 27.6 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 37-47)
RBC = 3.59 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 4.2-5.4)
MCV = 76.9 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 81-101)
MCH = 24.4 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 26-34)
MCHC = 31.8 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 32-36)
RDW = 13.6 [COLOR="Green"]In Range[/COLOR] (Range = 11.5-14.5)


[U]7 months ago[/U]:

HGB = 10.0 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 11.5-15.2)
HCT = 29.9 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 33.5-45.2)
RBC = 3.67 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 3.84-5.04)
MCV = 81.4 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 82.0-99.0)
MCH = 27.2 [COLOR="Red"]Low[/COLOR] (Range = 27.4-33.0)
MCHC = 33.4 [COLOR="Green"]In Range[/COLOR] (Range = 31.6-35.5)
RDW = 12.3 [COLOR="Green"]In Range[/COLOR] (Range = 10.2-14.0)


[U]Health history[/U]:

Female, late 40's, have not entered menopause, not overweight, fairly active until as of late
Newly diagnosed w/ sleep apnea (using CPAP)
Newly diagnosed type II diabetes (diabetes under control) NO FAMILY HISTORY!
Kidney stones twice in the past two years
Undiagnosed joint pain and recent significant hair loss
Extreme fatigue
Medications: Metformin


Any comments would be so very appreciated. I'm feeling really lost about this iron stuff.:dizzy:
I'm a bit irritated following my doctor's appointment yesterday.

My doctor does not want to refer me to a hematologist. He sees no need for it and seemed a bit at odds with the doc-in-a-box suggesting that I should see one. He says I'm barely anemic and that the daily iron tablets will improve my iron stores enough. He wants me retested in a month. That I can understand and I will take a wait and see approach. The rest of the appointment only went downhill from there though.

He sees no need to test me for hemochromatosis. If I am anemic, then I cannot have hemochromatosis. (Guess it doesn't matter that this is the direct cause of my father's death.)

He completely dismissed my request to be tested for vitamin b deficiency. He sees absolutely no need whatsoever for it. Even after I explained to him that I was told by the urgent care center that had originally prescribed my Metformin back in March, and also the pharmacist, that said I must be tested in about 6-12 months for vitamin b, and then again annually. I've read this too in several books about type II diabetes. After that rebuff, I didn't even have the nerve to ask about vitamin k or ferritin.

He had nothing at all to say about my drastic hair loss. He has never seemed overly concerned with the painful joints in my hands so I didn't even bring it up. I guess I am to assume that there is nothing that can be done for that and that it is a consequence of aging. (This makes me quite angry because I am a very young 48 in body, mind, and spirit.)

I'm feeling really down since my appointment. I will remain hopeful that the iron tablets will improve my blood results. I've been feeling like heck for a long time now, what's another couple of months?





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