Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Iron Deficiency Anemia And Treatment

Fr. Dale Matson

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
I have discussed the problem I had with blood loss from surgery in a prior post.

http://sanjoaquinsoundings.blogspot.com/2012/05/baseline-data.html. At that point I began treating my anemia with food and supplements to increase my hematocrit (HMT) and hemoglobin. What I have done since that time was to include lab tests specifically for anemia. What I discovered was that my iron serum (26) and iron saturation (7) were dangerously low even though my HMT and hemoglobin were nearing the low end of normal. What I have done since mid-May is to develop a treatment regimen designed to raise my iron saturation and iron serum and hope that the hemoglobin and HMT would increase in response to more available iron. My goal was to increase the iron supply in my body.

First, I would like to offer my symptoms of iron deficiency anemia that I experienced. My resting pulse of (60) was 20 beats higher than normal (40). I couldn’t do my normal exercising with the same power and speed. I was very cold all of the time and needed an electric blanket in addition to a heavy comforter for sleeping. I needed a wet suit to swim in 75 degree water. I would get dizzy just from bending to pick up something. I had lots of headaches. My skin was pale. I think it affected me psychologically with a mild depression and anxiety too. Let’s just say the problem was pervasive and sapped my strength to the point that I was fatigued most of the time. I would sigh and yawn. Some folks told me I had exercise induced asthma. I was simply not getting enough oxygen.  Athletes can have diminished V02 max because of this type anemia and their performance drops dramatically. I believe sometimes that what is referred to as overtraining can be an exercise induced iron deficiency anemia.
Second, if you look up the numbers, you will find that incidence of reported anemia is greater than 10% of the population overall. I suspect that many folks are pre anemic or anemic and don’t even know it. The numbers are probably much higher. They may go to their doctor and report malaise, chronic fatigue or some other problem and not be identified as anemic. I believe Iron Deficiency anemia is grossly under-diagnosed.

Here is the good news. I was able to treat this problem using food and food supplements to the point that I am no longer anemic. I remind the reader that this treatment was with consultation from my physician and my sister who is a retired medical technician. The only problem with many physicians is that they learn their trade in a hospital, so “not being sick” is being “well” from their perspective. Unfortunately, not being sick is not necessarily optimum health. Please have your physician ok any food or supplements you anticipate using first.

The internet is a great place to conduct research and I received quite an education. The best source of iron is what is called Hemi Iron. Meat is a source, especially liver and beef. I decided to resume beef once a week. Another source of Hemi Iron is in desiccated liver tablets. The best Hemi Iron source that I came across is a product called “Proferrin ES available in limited amounts from Colorado Biolabs Inc. I promote it because I believe the three tablets per day recommended on the label probably did more than anything else to boost my iron (I am not a paid spokesperson). Hemi Iron is the most usable form of iron for the body. Iron pills, like ferrous sulfate are not absorbed well, were problematic for me and gave me tremendous heartburn. Others I have talked to about this have had problems with heartburn also. You are also encouraged to avoid calcium within a two hour window before and after taking the iron supplements because it reduces the iron absorption. Vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin B12 are encouraged to help with uptake. I also take black strap molasses as a non-hemi iron source and enjoy this “medicine” that tastes like licorice. Mixed nuts and dried fruit and leafy green vegetables are also sources I used. Finally, I also use a product called nutritional yeast flakes which are gluten free for B12.

It is now mid-July and here are the numbers for my iron serum (78) and Iron saturation (22. My treadmill speed is up to 6.5 mph from 4.5 mph with a lower average and maximum heart rate than before. My symptoms are no longer evident and now I am going to reduce the amount of my iron intake to maintenance levels. There are lots of warnings about iron overload and that could be a serious problem for some. That is why I have had lab testing done every three weeks and paid for it out of my own pocket. I have used Econo Labs (I am not a paid spokesperson for them either). It is easy to set testing up over the internet and to pay in advance. They have a quick turnaround time and will email the results to you and your physician. The results are easy to read and normal ranges follow your results.

Why have I posted this on our website? I posted this because as Christians, we are called to comfort others with the comfort that we received (2 Corinthians 1:4)  Thank you Lord!  


jenn said...

So the anemia symptoms are getting bad again. Migraines. Dizziness. Fatigue. Loss of appetite. Sensitivity to temperature. Shakiness. Ear ringing. Impair vision upon standing. Just everything. I cant take to iron because it messes up my stomach but that’s the only thing than makes the other symptoms go away.

Dale Matson said...

Although the common wisdom is to take vitamin C to assist in absorption of iron, I found that taking it was counterproductive. Vitamin C is acidic and exacerbated my problems with gastric re-flux. I have had no problems with re-flux and heartburn taking folic acid, Proferrin ES, dessicated liver tablets and black strap molasses. It seems like some doctors are never satisfied with even positive results. I have had significant increases with hematocrit, hemoglobin, iron saturation and iron serum yet my physician ordered a ferritin level too. I need to call for the results. I understand your frustration.

Critical illness cover said...

Most people understand that anemia is caused by iron deficiency in the bloodstream but in reality anemia is characterized by deficiency in the hemoglobin of the red blood cells diminishing the ability of the blood to transport oxygen to our cells and to removing carbon dioxide.

Critical illness cover

Dale Matson said...

In July of this year my physician ordered a ferritin level blood test. the normal range is about 30-300. My physician's advice was to continue taking the supplements to build up my ferritin level which was only 23. this must be the last indicator to respond to increased iron supplementation. My last test was 29 (October), so I am going the the right direction. The rest of the numbers are all within normal limits.

xShelbyx said...

Is solar dessicated liver tablets good too?

What's the diff between proferrin es and the dessicated liver?

Lastly, can lactoferrin help?

Oh, and what was a typical days diet like for u?

Dale Matson said...

I think you mean Solgar dessicatd liver tabs. That is what I use.
Here is information on proferrin es.
I don't know anything about lactoferrin. Anyone?
Mixed nuts, fruit and almond milk in the morning. Greek style yogurt and vegetables with a blueberry juice drink at noon.
Salmon and salad with a piece of fruit for dinner.
I use a mix of the supplements at each meal

xShelbyx said...

How is proferrin es different than solgar dessicated liver?

How much of each do u take and do u take with food?

What other supps do u take?

Ur diet looks very healthy. Do u also eat fish, poultry, legumes, or red meat? Any starchy veg/tubers or grains?

Thanks for the great info

Dale Matson said...

I would treat dosage levels as an individual thing partly related to dosage suggestions on the label, personal needs and in conjunction with your treating physician's advice. I take a multivitamin.
I eat lots of chicken, salmon and occasional red meat. Lots of fruits and vegetables and NO grains since I am gluten intolerant.

Dale Matson said...

I recently had another blood draw and my Iron serum, saturation, Hemoglobin and Hematocrit along with all other "Anemia Profile A" indicators are within normal limits (WNL). This profile does NOT include Ferritin levels and my doctor has this measure done on a separate blood test. I am continuing my supplements with the addition of 250 mg of vitamin C (with rose hips) with my morning meal with no gastric problems. on My Iron Deficiency Anemia And Treatment

MaryinIL said...

My iron has always been low, even my sons were on iron enriched formaulas. I've been lucky and never had any low iron symptoms, but when the blodd work came back low and I was repeatedly being denied to donate blood, I started an iron supplement, but not much changed. FINALLY I happen to mention my low iron issues to the blood bank professional who said "don't take iron with dairy". I always take my vitamins with breakfast and I eat alot of dairy. So I took my iron at a different time of day, on an empty stomach, and poof!, my iron is going up. I passed the iron test at the blood bank on the first try and even had a few points to spare. Why don't Doctors know this stuff? It's simply... please try it. that would include your multi vitamin that may have extra iron. Take it a step further and maybe eating foods high in iron with dairy has the same effects. Please post if you see results. After decades of low iron, I would be thrilled if word spread of this simple change.

Dale Matson said...

This is another update. I had my blood tested again for anemia.Iron Serum is 70, Iron saturation is 22,
Hemoglobin is 15.4 and Hematocrit is 48. The last number is approaching the high end of normal. An additional but perhaps related factor is that I hiked at altitude often during the summer and this tends to increase Hematocrit also. These encouraging results are the effect of the continued use of supplements that I mentioned in my original article.

Dale Matson said...

I have one small caveat about Black Strap Molasses. Frequent use will stain your teeth.

Dale Matson said...

Hi Folks,
Here are the numbers on my most recent blood draw for anemia. There is not much change from the October numbers except for my Iron Serum levels which were on the high side: 159. My Iron saturation was high normal at 49. Hemoglobin 15.6 and Hematocrit 46.7 were within normal limits. My MCV and Eos were on the high side. I will reduce my iron intake some and keep an eye on my serum levels which have climbed steadily from < 28. It is obvious to me that supplements and diet can turn things around!

Dale Matson said...

My ferritin level is now 33 which is at the bottom of the normal range (30-300). My doctor ordered a test to determine if there are problems with processing B12/folic acid. He suspects I have Megaloblastic anemia. More tests coming. Otherwise, all of my iron numbers are essentially within normal limits (WNL). I hope to continue to work on intervention with supplements for folic acid and B12.

Dale Matson said...

My mean cell volume (MCV) remains at the high end with a low normal ferritin level. The doctor prescribed a B complex multivitamin, Folate, L-methionine, and magnesium citrate. I think my main issue is poor processing in the gut. I suppose a Vitamin B12 shot would help but will see how the oral dose works with the next blood test to check B12 and folate levels. Another possibility would be a B12/folate skin patch. The whole point it to get more oxygen and lower homocysteine levels. I think homocysteine levels are an emerging area of health concern for both heart and brain. B12 and folate help with this also.

Mia Bianco said...

I found this blog very helpful. I am a distance runner and noticed about 9 months ago that I was feeling very fatigued and dizzy. I went to the doctor and they told me my iron levels were very low. I have been taking a multi-vitamin at lunch time and an iron supplement with dinner. I've seen a huge change and can notice when I miss a day. I've heard that calcium cancels out iron, but I know I need more calcium. Any suggestions?

Dale Matson said...

Thanks for the response. Even doctors that call themselves specialists in sports medicine have not researched the effects on the body of endurance sports. I believe your are correct that calcium does cancel out the effects of iron IF they are taken together. Check with your doctor or a pharmacist but I believe if you take them at different intervals you will avoid this. For example you could take the iron in the morning and calcium at night.

Dale Matson said...

Here is a recent blog post that is worth reading.

Dale Matson said...

My most recent testing had ferritin, Iron serum and saturation, hemoglobin, hematocrit within normal limits. I have been taking a B complex vitamin and used B12/folate patches for a month. The results were a high B12 (1603 with 211-946 as normal range). My folate was >19.9 with a normal minimum of >3.1. It looks like the oral B12 vitamins are adequate to bring B12 to normal for me.
I would also like to note that Crystallized Ginger Root has been wonderful for treating indigestion and acid stomach. Not overeating is still the most important "treatment".

Tracy said...

Thank you so much for sharing. This information is so helpful!! I have terrible anemia with a ferritin level that started at 6 ( yes six) and now has slowly over a year reached 14. It's awful. I'm am about to try the desiccated liver to see if that helps. I've also read brewers yeast helps as well. I have tried just about everything including proferrin but nothing is working very fast I take the methyl form of all the b vitamins which helps tremendously (especially the b-12)
I am curious about them megoblastic anemia. And may ask my doc about it too. Did your doc say why he suggested l-methionine? Thanks so much again for sharing. Your information may just be what I have been searching for!!

Dale Matson said...

Thanks for the comment. I believe he suggested the l-methionine for inflammation and as an antioxidant. It may be an age related suggestion since I am 69 years old. He believes that inflammation can be a big problem for older folks. Maybe I should have mentioned this when i listed it in my previous post. Thanks for asking.

Dale Matson said...

By the way, brewers yeast can be a problem for those with gluten intolerance.

Tracy said...

Oh wow. I am gluten intolerant as well! Hmmmm I wonder if this is a coincidence or a condition associated with anemia. Or perhaps gluten issues (and therefore damaged guts) cause anemia? Just a thought.
Thank you so much for your advice Dale. I will ask my naturopathic doc (who specializes in gluten issues) before proceeding with the brewers yeast.

The info you have so graciously shared has been eye opening for this fellow anemia sufferer. God bless! And many thanks!

Dale Matson said...

My latest Anemia profile was within normal limits including iron serum, iron saturation,hemoglobin, and hematocrit. I continue to use dessicated liver tabs (3 per day) 1 Proferrin ES per day, 1 multivitamin per day, 2 Tablespoons of Blackstrap Molasses per day, 1 250 MG vitamin C tab per day,1 400 MG tablet of Magnesium Citrate per day and avoid gluten, processed food and most dairy. Could I eliminate any of this? I don't know but not suffering from anemia is worth the effort.

Dale Matson said...

I know there are lots of folks who read this post and comments (literally thousands). I continue to emphasize the importance of whatever you do being under the guidance of a physician. Anemia undercuts the quality of life in such a puzzling fashion and is mistaken for other issues. I hope each of you who read these posts can overcome this serious problem and recover your life and confidence.

Andree Muldoon said...

Did you have sensitivity to light? I seem to have to wear sunglasses even if it's partly cloudy outside and bright indoor lights give me anxiety and headaches now.

Dale Matson said...

I do have light sensitivity but it is in my right eye because of Glaucoma.

Neil Grey said...

After a visit to the hospital in summer when they discovered my iron levels were 6.3, I was given 3 pints of blood and still only pushed me to 8.1. I now take 2 iron pills a day with orange juice or apple juice, as the iron pill will cause gastrointestinal problems with me, but in the opposite, they kind of balance out.
Thank you for this post, I was starting to think maybe something is wrong with me because I tend to stay low in my iron no matter what I do.

softballmom said...

On October 21 i started feeling dizzy confused tingly/numb hands my vision was spotty and unclear BAD anxiety and depression thought i wad going to die. Went to the doctors on october 26 he said i was having anxiety panic attacks and depression which shocked me bc I'm a happy and never had those issues before he took blood ran tests and the next day he called and i was diagnosed with severe Anemia hemoglobin 7.6 on, symptoms eased slowly but no completely. December 7th went in for more blood test and was and shockingly my hemoglobin was 12.0., and ferritin was 33. My question I'm still experiencing dizziness and I still get panicky or anxiety then depression bc I'm scared I'm not going go get better. It comes and goes daily. Very frustrating being 30 with kids and I'm afraid to drive in case I slip into a dizzy spell or panicky. Does anyone know if ferritin at a 33 cause these symptoms on and off?

Dale Matson said...

My question to you would be, "Why are you afraid you are not going to get better?" Does your doctor have a record of your iron levels before your anemia problems? It would be interesting to know what is "normal" for you. It sounds like your major issue now is anxiety/depression not anemia but that is for you and your physician to discuss. The symptoms of anemia can also cause a loss of self confidence, loss of self efficacy and a moment by moment obsession with our overall well being. This may linger on long after normal iron levels have been restored. What are you doing to take your mind off yourself? Are you getting enough exercise? Are you involved in a faith community? Remember, in the Christian life, the big three are faith hope and love.

Dale Matson said...

Dehydration may be the problem not anemia. It would be easy to rule out by ensuring you are properly hydrated.
Dehydration Versus Anemia

From Here: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/dehydration-adults

The signs and symptoms of dehydration range from minor to severe and include:
Feeling cold [This is on other lists]
Increased thirst
Dry mouth and swollen tongue
Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
Sluggishness fainting
Inability to sweat
Decreased urine output
Urine color may indicate dehydration. If urine is concentrated and deeply yellow or amber, you may be dehydrated.


From Here: http://www.healthline.com/health/iron-deficiency-anemia#Overview1

The symptoms of moderate to severe iron deficiency anemia include:

General fatigue
Pale skin
Shortness of breath
Strange cravings to eat items that aren’t food, such as dirt, ice, or clay
A tingling or crawling feeling in the legs
Tongue swelling or soreness
Cold hands and feet
Fast or irregular heartbeat
Brittle nails

Anonymous said...

Dale Matson, I read through your history on getting back to normal from an anemic state - overall, it looks like you've done pretty well. Hopefully the low absorption issue is resolved soon, so you can think about other things. I say that, because almost my whole existence for the last 8 months is on recovery from anemia.

I've been anemic most of my adult life. I have six sons, and while pregnant was anemic with each, though all doctors said 'mildly' anemic. However, I've also had horrendously heavy menstrual difficulties through the years, and I always thought that was an accepted normal condition for having so many children. Not so. I hadn't seen a doctor in years, and finally for another completely unrelated matter, went in to get a first visit in early May of 2015. They ran blood, and did all the normal wellness checks, and I went home with answers to my other concern of a tooth/sinus infection and ozone treatment for the next 4 weeks (which eliminated the infection, btw).

I was at 4.1 hemoglobin, and some ridiculously low other numbers I did not understand. They called over the weekend to get me in for another confirming blood test, and then immediately sent me to the ER for a transfusion of 4 pints of blood - so thank you all who donate! <3 You saved my bacon, and I immediately felt like I'd never experienced such wonderful health in all my life. I also ate ravenously for about a month's time afterward. Always hungry!

My sypmtoms for years up until that point, which I had tried every last health protocol outside treating anemia to cure, never went away, and I frequently thought I might not make it another day. I suffered from a pounding, accelerated heart rate just climbing the stairs to my room, and I'd have to lay down for a while to feel well enough to keep busy with house chores. I loved ice, and had been eating ice since 2006. So here's a list of anemia symptoms I've experienced:

1. constantly out of breath, unless laying down doing nothing. :(
2. accelerated heart rate with any exertion
3. skin lesions that would never heal - like for years.
4. chewing ice all day, every day. Embarrassing, but I just loved it immensely, and had to have it. Someday I'd like to know the connection between this drive and anemia.
5. mental fog, and terrible concentration. College assignments took probably twice as long to complete.
6. thin, dry, splotchy colored hair, turning gray very rapidly, and never really growing much.
7. nails splitting vertically all the time. Very soft.
8. white nail beds
9. yellow, jaundiced appearance. All of my adult pics with the family - I'm yellow, and everyone else is pink/red skin tone.
10. continual productive cough. Sometime I just couldn't stop for half an hour, and my heart would start hurting. As it turns out, this is the beginning of congestive heart failure, at late stage acute anemia.
11. easily irritated, tense, depressed, flat, dispassionate mood toward others and their concerns.

Anonymous said...

Addendum to post...

Obviously my big lesson here was to get to the doctor if I can for at least a regular checkup or go when I'm not feeling so hot. Almost the entire duration of these years I did not have insurance, and because I felt so sick, couldn't make enough to pay anyway. In this case, public health insurance has saved my life, which my kids are grateful for. They lost their dad in 2010, so it would have been extra heartbreaking, I'm sure, if I was gone, too.

Now that it's February 2016, my health is slowly being restored through cleansing, heavy nutrient supplementation, and natural thyroid and hormones. I'm weaning off the thyroid and hormones, and will be going all natural soon with a nutrient dense diet, and will increase my exercise routine when I am stable enough to not deplete my iron stores. I am using desiccated liver tablets of 2 500mg daily instead of prescription, and I'm researching whether upping the dose would be more helpful. Strangely, iron levels are not listed for this supplement, but I know it's not hard on my liver.

So, what caused the anemia in the first place? Uterine fibroid tumors. Nasty, nasty little growths! Benign, yet for some reason they cause severe bleeding in some women, and they just did a number on me for too long.

I'm 49, so going the non-invasive, non-surgical route is my choice, if I can survive it. Fibroids reduce in size when menopause begins fully, since there is no longer a high estrogen load to make them flare up monthly. The usual route these days is to remove the uterus, get an oblation of the lining, or take heavy hormonal supplements to try and balance levels. I opted for #3, on a mild scale, just to regulate after such a long span of years with poor health. I also don't join the 'remove it' crowd when it comes to my organs.

My hair and nails are now growing and strong. My skin lesion are either gone or clearing. I am starting to feel like doing things again. I can think more clearly.

Not out of the water yet, and I expect it will take this year to see normalization.
I hope someone will find this history of some help. Get to the doctor is you have several of these indicators, and try to get your nutrition from as much a non-GMO, rich heme and plant based diet. I use clams (emergency heme iron), I eat a lot of red meat, and I am now taking the desiccated liver tabs.

All the best. I'll keep up if someone wants to reply.

Anonymous said...

I hope some can help me understand this. I've sent this to many websites & blogs over the last 2 weeks & no one has answered me.

I had a PCP in January 2015 for about 4 months. We didn't hit it off so when she went on 3 months maternity leave I found another doctor. The last report from the this doctor showed the following:

Test Result Ref. Range Comments
Iron 62 30 - 180 mcg/dL
Transferrin 289 214 - 365 mg/dL
TIBC 405 260 - 490 mcg/dL
Iron Saturation 15 15 - 50%
B-12 240 247 - 911 pg/mL This doctor said my B12 level was marginally low, but everything else was fine.

Then I started with my new PCP in August 2015. She ran the same test with the following results:

Test Result Ref. Range Comments
Ferritin, Serum 6.3 10 - 200 ng/mL
B-12 275 Normal: 180 - 914 pg/mL This doctor said: Your B12 level is low. Please take B12 1000 micrograms under your tongue daily.
Indeterminate: 145-180 pg/mL
Deficient: <145 pg/mL

Why would my iron be fine & then 3 months later I'm bordering pernicious anemia? I realize there are other test results that you need to take into consideration & I realize that each lab works things a little differently & lists results differently but any information I've found shows that these numbers should be very similar. Any ideas?


Dale Matson said...

I recently had two stents placed in an artery to my heart. After about two weeks on aspirin and Plavix, I began having bloody stools. An endoscopy revealed 3 preexisting ulcers. They were cauterized and I am being treated for acid conditions now I suspect that I had a small GI bleed for years which may have contributed to my anemia. It is something I believe should be ruled out for folks. Hope this helps.

Dale Matson said...

I am testing my blood again through Econolabs. I have my first report which is not encouraging. My hemoglobin is low at 8.9 and my iron serum is very low at 3. I now have a baseline to measure against for future tests. It will be a long road back but at least I have been is this situation before and know what foods and supplements help build my iron levels. My heart rate is high when I go for walks at about 2mph. The heart rate monitor shows my average HR to be about 94 on flat surfaces. This is an indirect measure of progress. The average heart rate should go down over a measured course at the same pace as I improve over time.

Dale Matson said...

My latest blood results indicate that my Iron saturation remains at a very low 3 (normal is 15-55) my Hemoglobin remains low and is only up by one tenth of a point to 9 (normal is (12.6-17.7) g/dl. My hematocrit remains low but is up a full point at 29.1 normal is 37.5-51 %. I will wait two weeks before my next blood test and include a cholesterol test also.
Also watch foods that can hinder Iron uptake when taken with Iron. This includes eggs and figs.
My heart rate is slower exercising over a measured distance at the same pace. A treadmill is a good way to control the variables. My resting heart rate is also reduced.
I recommend keeping a daily journal of your exercise numbers. Seeing any progress at all over time is encouraging.

Dale Matson said...

My latest Anemia test results are disappointing but up slightly. Iron Saturation 4, Hemoglobin 9 (same), Hematocrit 29.7 and Iron Saturation 16. I personally believe the fact that I am on "Dual Platelet Therapy" to avoid a clot in my stents has suppressed my Iron intake/recovery. Unfortunately I can't stop the DPT for quite a while and hope I don't start bleeding again because it increases the risks of another bleed.
I also had a lipid panel done with results within normal limits (WNL). For this reason, I have chosen to remain off statin drugs which have side effects especially for those above age 70.

Ranae Liles said...

I am new to posting on someone's blob or following a blog, but this is fascinating to me. Obviously, I have stumbled upon this as I was searching for answers for the anemia that is befuddling me, but your situation sounds unique.As i read through the posts, it sounded as tho you "had it beat", bu then in Jan, results began to swing th other way. Are you atributing this to the bleed and the stents? Were you checked for bleeds prior to going on the "treat with food and nutrition" path? I only ask, as I have just completed a complete endoscopy and colonoscopy, (both found ZIP!). Anyhow, I am all prepared with my shopping list based on these posts, and your seemingly remarkable journey, but now I am concerened for both of us! Looking forward to hearing more on this, and here is to hoping you are on the road to recovery again soon!

Dale Matson said...

Thanks Ranae,
I Think it should be Standard Operational Procedure for those who may have stents placed to get an endoscopy and colonoscopy first. I didn't have a endoscopy and existing ulcers began to bleed when I was put on dual anti-platelet therapy (aspirin and Plavix). I am now on the razors edge between another bleed or a clot in my stents which would cause a heart attack. I have to deal with this indeterminate state on both a physical level and psychologically. The standard USA protocol is one year on DAPT. As soon as you are a bleeding risk all bets are off on how long to maintain DAPT. At this point I am willing to stay on DAPT for 6 months (England's protocol) or if I start bleeding again, whichever comes first. Additionally, the road back from anemia is hindered by Plavix. Research all medication side effects when attempting to recover from anemia. I don't have a choice since the stents are the main concern for the cardiologist. For me the main concern is the possibility of another bleed and the poor quality of life associated with the anemia.

Ranae said...

Ok..I think I understand. The stents being placed had nothing to do with the anemia, but the medications related to their use brought on the anemia, again. That truly stinks.
In all of your research did you come across anything regarding the cause of iron defieciency anemia that is not related to bleeding, heavy periods, or bone marrow problems. I can't help but think I am missing something. Like you, have been a healthy active participant in my health for all of my adult life. I eat what I think is a pretty amazing diet, and have no really serious bad health habits, (like smoking, drinking, illicit drug use, etc). I

I am going to continue on the diet and nutritional route, and expect great things, but wonder if I am missing something.

I also plan to follow your recovery closely.

Dale Matson said...

"In all of your research did you come across anything regarding the cause of iron deficiency anemia that is not related to bleeding, heavy periods, or bone marrow problems." Vitamin B12 and/or Folic Acid deficiency. They are necessary for the manufacture of iron. Econlabs has an anemia panel (B) which includes B12 levels. You can order a test from them without a doctors prescription if you are willing to pay for it yourself. They send you an authorization form and you go to a local lab for a blood draw. They send the results to you via email or even fax within 48 hours durning business days.

Ranae Liles said...

Yes..I had reaad about that, but dismissed it initially becasue I assumed my doctor would have looked at that on my blood work. Turns out, our anemia panel doesn't look at that unless you specify..so today I asked my Dr to authorize another blood draw, (and requested all my old labs, as well). He gave me the authorization, however when I looked closly at it, it did not include folate, b12, or transferrin. Becasue of this blog, I knew what I needed...So I called him and told him I was going to alter the lab request. He said "good idea". Got my blood drawn today, requested that in addition to my Dr, they send it to me, as well, and next week, my Dr and I will have a sit down chat! I am so excited to be taking over my care or at least no longer passivly accepting anything. I also just rec'd my liver tablets, Proferrian and nutritional yeast. I used to eat that all the time as a child..probably should have never stopped.
I thank you for sharing you encouragement and hope you are faring well! Blessings, Ranae

Dale Matson said...

I think my current bout with anemia is significant enough to warrant a new article. I have also discovered new information that may be useful for those have trouble making progress with their anemia. Could it be other medications you are taking that interfere with Iron Uptake?http://sanjoaquinsoundings.blogspot.com/2017/03/cardiac-stents-dual-antiplatelet.html

Dale Matson said...

My latest lab numbers are encouraging with a hemoglobin of 9.8 and hematocrit of 34.1. In spite of all the other meds, my anemia is improving!

Dale Matson said...

Thanks be to God that while some numbers like Iron saturation remain stubbornly low, my hemoglobin is now 11.2 and hematocrit is 36.3. I believe my increased exercise has helped me also as my body is forced to make more red blood cells in response to the exercise just like athletes train at altitude to accomplish the same thing. Exercise is also good psychologically and an excellent indirect measure of progress. For example, my maximum heart rate over a measured course at the same pace is now lower than my average heart rate was three months ago. If you don't have a heart monitor wrist watch and chest strap, the investment is worth it. It is also possible to use a treadmill to control the variables but hiking outdoors is more social and less boring. I got the anemia panel B from Econolabs which also showed my B12 and folate as high and ferritin as low at 8. My primary care doctor will be glad to see these numbers too as we both closely monitor my progress. In my case, things are complicated by having stents and diagnosed with CAD. My cardiologist wants me to keep my heart rate below 110. No matter how slow I go, hiking in the foothills sometimes exceeds this. Knowing your baseline normal resting heart rate is very useful as an indicator of progress also.If you are anemic, your resting heart rate will be higher than normal. As you recover, your resting heart rate will lower. I Hope this helps and encourages you who suffer from this terrible problem of anemia.

Dale Matson said...

After 3 hours of hiking and taking photographs in the mountains yesterday, I was exhausted and probably pushed things a little too hard. What I keep thinking about however is the importance of having a goal at the end of your recovery. What would you like to be able to do? I hope to do a day hike for photographs of Red Lake below Split Top Mountain. I am in no way close to this goal at this point but believe in my heart that with continued training and recovery, that it will be possible. That is what is pulling me forward. That is what I think about with each step I take now. It is what I think about when turning aside the extra helping of food. Having a goal at the end provides an overall plan, daily focus and discipline. It also energizes hope which is critical for morale.

Dale Matson said...

My Hemoglobin actually dropped a bit to 11.0. However my Hematocrit is 37.8 and my Iron serum and iron saturation much improved. Iron serum was in the normal range. other numbers continue to rise also. It is easier to do physical activity and keep my heart rate below 110 as requested by my cardiologist. He didn't schedule another treadmill stress test till September but by then the hiking season will almost be over. I insisted on a treadmill stress test in July and they consented. If you are not assertive you will only be a patient. Now that my blood work is getting closer to normal, my angina is more likely to crop up in stressful situations than during exercise. I want a higher maximum heart rate to give my more activity options.

Dale Matson said...

Mixed news on my 05-30-17 blood draw. My hemoglobin was up from 11 to 12 which is good. Normal is 12.6-17.7. My iron serum went down from 54 to 22 with a normal range of 38-169. My Iron saturation went down from 13 to 5 with a normal range of 15-55. Hematocrit is 40.5 and in the low end of the normal range. The ferritin level is low at 10 with a normal level of 30-400. It is up from 2 months ago when it was 8. Why do I get these mixed results? The combination of antacids to keep me from a GI bleed and the anti platelet medicines to keep me from getting a clot in my stents both combine to inhibit iron uptake. That is why this process is taking so long.I feel stronger and get in as many hikes as possible at altitude. This builds hemoglobin also. If doctors only saw the hematocrit and hemoglobin numbers, they wouldn't be very concerned and this is quite an improvement from a hemoglobin of 7 after the GI bleed in January.

Dale Matson said...

Both my hemoglobin and hematocrit are in the low normal range. This means that I am now suffering from "Iron deficiency without anemia". I continue to struggle with "Iron saturation" (5) and Serum Ferritin (9). This has been a difficult climb up the mountain especially with the other meds that inhibit Iron absorption. Because of blood in my urine my cardiologist took me off Plavix after 6 months of dual antiplatelet therapy. This reduces the chances of another bleed. I continue on a low dose aspirin daily. Now that I am off Plavix, my GI doctor can perform another endoscopy procedure to compare with the original one showing the 3 craters that had to be cauterized to stop the GI bleed. He will also be able to perform a biopsy this time to see if it is bacteria that caused the craters. He will also be checking for cancer with the biopsy. I believe the ulcers were caused by years of excessive aspirin and ibuprofen use. My hope is to go off one of the antacids after this (Pantoprazole or Carafate.) Stopping one of the antacids would help with iron absorption. In spite of the low iron levels, my energy continues to improve b/c I am no longer anemic. The next thing facing me is another treadmill stress test in late July. My hope is that now that I am no longer anemic, that the cardiologist will see enough improvement to raise my maximum heart rate. This would mean much for me since there is no way I can go backpacking in the mountains if my maximum allowable heart rate is only 110 bpm. Hope this is helpful to others.

Dale Matson said...

My latest anemia profile is in the NORMAL range for all measures including Iron Saturation and Serum Ferritin.
TBTG. I also had an endoscopy but will not meet with the Dr. until August. I am not off the Pantaprazole and the Dr. switched me from Carafate to Zantac. The nurse told me however that the biopsy indicated no cancer. What a long climb this has been. I take a treadmill test this week to see if my cardiologist will allow me to increase my maximum heart rate from 110 bpm. I hope this encourages you folks suffering from anemia. So many things specialists use to treat one condition effects other conditions. Be an informed consumer. At age 72, God has given me more than my "Three score and ten" years. My warrenty is up and focusing on God's 'still small voice' is more important than ever. Prayer has played a major role in my recovery. Peace to you all. Dale+

Dale Matson said...

I posted this article today which may be useful for some of you folks.

Dale Matson said...

I posted this article about Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) diet, supplements, emotions and a spiritual perspective may be useful for some folks.

Dale Matson said...

After my latest treadmill stress test, the cardiologist has allowed me to increase my maximum heart rate to 120 bpm. He will see me again in January of 2018 for another treadmill stress test. My current results were improved I believe, because my hemoglobin was on the low side of normal vs only 9 last time. I am also in better shape and lighter. The Dr. also suggested that my collateral circulation may be better next time also. Let's hope.I would like to have a higher maximum heart rate. Last week I did do an overnight in the mountains backpacking with my wife. That is an acid test. I did not experience any angina or breathlessness. TBTG!

Dale Matson said...

HI folks,
I wanted to throw this out there and see if anyone has noticed the same thing I have. It seems like when I have eaten salty food, I sleep better at night and am less anxious. I have read articles that suggest low sodium levels are just as bad as high sodium levels in the body and that a symptom of low sodium is anxiety. I shouldn't generalize from just my experience but maybe the rise in those experiencing anxiety is the low salt diets people are on especially for high blood pressure. My cardiologist told me sugar is worse than salt however. Has anyone else experienced this?

Dale Matson said...

My latest hemoglobin (13.3) and hematocrit (43.3) continued to increase but my Iron saturation was low at 6. Normal is between 15-55. I believe the antacid Zantac and proton pump inhibitor Protonix are responsible for the low iron saturation number. They inhibit iron uptake. I need these antacids however to help my ulcers heal. My GI doctor said that he believed my diet also was playing a part in the ulcers not healing with acidic foods. I stopped eating blueberries, drinking fruit juices, and stopped taking vitamin C as a supplement. I did start taking a supplement that contains sterols and stenols to help lower my LDL. I don't want to take a statin drug.
I also think I am reaching a safe limit to my hemoglobin level since the higher the hemoglobin, the higher the blood viscosity. If you have CAD, it is possible to have blood that is not thin enough to move through the arteries without straining the heart muscle.That is why I want to lower my LDL as my hemoglobin increases to avoid blood that is too thick.

Kate said...

Just finding this blog and wanted to say thank you.

I have been struggling with iron-deficiency anemia and iron supplements. Every time I try to take supplements (including ferrous sulphate, gentle vegetarian formulations etc.) I have terrible GI distress and pain and feel loopy. This makes me not want to take supplements. But of course I need to. It feels like a trap: the anemia makes me fatigued, breathless, crawly legs, heart palpitations, but the iron supplements just feel wrong and mess with my gut and sleep. Finding your story has offered some comfort.

I had already been exploring food-based options in addition to an iron-rich diet, and my new plan is to try Proferrin ES and dessiccated liver tablets and see how it goes.

Doc has discovered likely cause of heavy periods and removed some uterine polyps, but I have a long way to go to rebuild iron stores.

Wishing you and everyone on this forum good health and support.

K.K. Jazwa said...

Finding the right iron that will not just bring up your iron stores, but not mess up your gut or make you feel 'off' can be a challenge. I suggest Floridix liquid and Ferretts iron supplement that can be found on amazon. Ferretts helped bring my stores back up and is easy on my tummy. Good Luck!

Kristine J.

Dale Matson said...

My latest Anemia test showed a slight drop in hemoglobin and hematocrit and a slight rise in Iron Saturation from 6 to 9 (still low). I have decided to increase my proferrin to two tablets daily from one.
My primary care physician suggested I take Vitamin K2 for my heart and I have also decided to take two Tumeric capsules per day also. Chronic Inflammation seems to be the cause of so many problems.