New to anemia. What to expect?
I’m a 35 year old male. Bloodwork I had done in the hospital last month while being treated for foot pain showed that my red blood cell count, hemoglobin, and hematocrit were all low. Not low enough to cause symptoms, but low enough to be flagged.
My doctor also did bloodwork while testing me for gout, and it also showed low hemoglobin. My doctor’s plan was to wait four weeks and test my blood again, then start investigating. I still have about two weeks to go.
What worries me about my anemia is that I don’t think it is caused by an iron deficiency. The fact that I had gout, which is usually caused by foods that happen to be rich in iron, makes me think this. If my anemia isn’t caused by an iron deficiency, I think it’s likely to be indicative of a much larger problem, like maybe cancer. I don’t know, am I getting worried over nothing?
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I have had sickle cell anemia my whole life. If you don't think it's Iron Deficiency Anemia I would wait to get more blood work done and see a hematologist.
Wouldn’t hurt to have the ferritin and iron levels checked with your next set of lab work in two weeks. Also labs that check for celiac which would be an absorption issue which leads to iron deficiency. Look up some articles discussing gout and celiac. Maybe a connection.
Did they test for Ferritin, serum iron, or iron plasma? It’s possible to be getting enough iron in your diet but not absorbing it. It happened to me last year, took iron supplements and wasn’t even absorbing the supplements. I had never had an issue with anemia in my life previous to this. Finally got an iron infusion, after a year, and now waiting to see if my hemoglobin improves.
They didn’t test my iron yet. I guess it’s possible I just could’ve developed absorption issues, but I don’t really know what causes iron absorption issues. I guess it is good to know iron absorption issues can have sudden onset. My blood was always healthy before this too.
Well I am anemic I had two transfusions and then I take iron pills I'm down to two iron pills a day they kind of make you constipated I thought I had cancer too but your doctor would see in your blood work hopefully you have a good doctor if you don't take them it's not good but you feel better after you have to transfusions if you have any other questions just text me thanks bye Debbie
My iron deficiency anemia was discovered in 2016. (I already had pernicious anemia which is another subject I will not address here.) The reason for my iron deficiency anemia was not found — there were various speculations, e.g., heavy radiation for cancer in 1990, repeated urinary tract infections, exposure to chemical when a child, etc.
Iron deficiency anemia was found via blood tests were administered by my primary care doctor upon my complaints of extreme weakness, tiredness, rapid heart beat, and brain fog. The tests revealed dangerously low ferritin, red blood cells, hemoglobin, etc. so I was directed to immediately consult with a hematologist/oncologist which I did.
The hema/onc doc offered an immediate fix via an iron infusion and in the meantime, prescribed a daily iron pharmaceutical drug (Ferrex). (I declined getting an infusion for my own reasons; however, I have met others who did just fine with them.) My diet already included plenty of iron rich foods but I increased my red meat intake.
After one month of the prescribed iron supplement, I was on the road to normal levels and got the following blood tests every 6 weeks (initially) and then every few months plus I would meet with my hema/onc dr:
CBC/CMP (Complete Blood Count and Metabolic Profile)
Iron Bind Cap (TIBC)
My body would not retain sufficient levels of iron and ferritin stores so I was forced to continue the iron pharmaceutical drug which played an absolute havoc with my already challenged digestive/intestinal system. Once I felt I was out of the woods and was no longer in serious trouble, I started independently experimenting with non-pharmaceutical iron supplements and tried unsucessfully to get tips from costly alternative doctors since my hematologist/oncologist had no knowledge of non-traditional/complementary med. It took me 2 years on my own to eventually find a over the counter iron supplement that continues today to work well for me today: NovaFerrum Dietary Supplement capsules [a polysaccharide iron complex, 50 mg] with water and on an empty stomach. (I found if I don't take the supplement, my blood values dip to below normal levels within one month.)
While this may never apply to you (my fingers are crossed), the regular administration of my blood tests listed above which I was getting every 6 months, revealed MGUS (Monocloncal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance) in 2021. Because of the MGUS diagnosis, I now get other blood and urine tests that track the progression of MGUS plus I continue to get the ones related to iron which I've listed above. I will be getting my next battery of tests next month.
Everyone is different and there could be plenty of reasons for developing iron deficiency anemia but I do hope that my experience may benefit someone! 🙂
Hi @jdtay87, @michey is right. Everyone is different.
There are many different types of anemia. And treatment depends on the cause. You can read more from Mayo Clinic:
– Anemia https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20351360
I can understand that this is worrisome. But you can be somewhat calmed by the fact that your doctor discovered the deficiency and is following up. That's a good thing.
Do you have the gout under control now?
Hello hope your red count is up now, try some beet juice and b 12 shots. I am not a doctor but I do have anemia and the beet juice b 12 shots give me alittle more energy. good luck.
Yes, my gout is under control now. They actually had me take ten colchicine pills over eight days. Three the first day, then one a day for a week.
Loula, Thank you for your post. To clarify a bit further: B-12 shots are not used to treat Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA).
Below normal B12 is Pernicous Anemia. I learned the hard way that low B-12 can make you feel quite horrible and prompt other serious problems. Ask your doctor about getting a simple B-12 blood test plus ask if it would be helpful to also get blood tests for homocysteine and methylmalonic acid (both of which can both go to abnormal levels due to low B12.) B-12 can easily be raised with B-12 shots and then your liver stores can be further maintained via oral B-12 pills (sublingual B-12 pills are easy peasy for me). Again, ask your doctor about this.
Iron Deficiency Anemia is very different ball game and unrelated to low-B-12. In my post above from several days ago, I list the tests that my doctor used to diagnose and continues to use to ensure I do not return to a state of Iron Deficiency Anemia.
It is possible to have both Pernicious Anemia and Iron Deficiency Anemia as I did BUT unfortunately, they are often confused. In fact, there are many types of anemias per this reference: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20351360
PS Beet juice is FANTASTIC for many reasons but that's another story 🙂