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Low iron level, ANEMIC with progressive achiness. Reason.

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Why would my iron fall from 104 to 56 in just 8 days of intense activity/stress (remodeling of house in preparation to turn it into a vacation home)....then when I try to bring my serum back up, it doesn't budge (STILL 56) and ferritin simply goes up from 76 to 95??

My understanding is that the stress would have caused high free radicals, and the latter would have eaten up my iron. And I felt it!! I got VERY tired on the 8th day, then had progressive achiness, which is typical for me when anemic. Now granted, some feel that this is not anemia since my hemoglobin stayed pretty good: 15.3 (13 - 16.8). l live at a high altitude. But others say yes, you can have anemia with good hemoglobin since some of your tissues may be experiencing the low iron. And I felt like crap...just as I do when anemic!

But now, 2 1/2 months later, and after eight weeks of 200 mg elemental iron a day with 1500 mg lactoferrin and lemon juice in the drink, I can't get my serum iron up! (Why the lactoferrin? Because my TIBC has been at the bottom of the range all year, probably due to serious mold inhalation last year which put me in bed, miserable, for three months.)

So..what gives with being unable to get my serum up back up? I have no celiac. I take probiotics. I am extremely healthy. Did the stress lower co-factors that prevent me from absorbing iron?? What can I do?

Category: Hematologist

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Category: Hematologist
 19 Doctors Online

Thank you for your query at
Based on your blood tests attached in the reports, I find no specific abnormality. There are several forms of Iron available and measurable in the body. They are taken together when considering the test reports and not in isolation.
Since you have said you are perfectly normal, I assume that you do not have any specific symptoms associated with anemia and your Hemoglobin is in normal range. Extreme physical stress causes no gross change in iron levels. A physican is more concerned about Hemoglobin and not other parameters as they can fluctuate.
Generally TIBC, serum ferrtin, etc are considered along with other blood parameters. I do not consider your parameters as abnormal. You can take health vitamins as per your physicians advice. A normal healthy well balanced nutritious diet is more than sufficient to maintain your health.
Please let me know if you have any additional concerns.

Patient replied :

By the way, I never said I was "perfectly normal". I said I was healthy.
And to the contrary, I had CLEAR symptoms of an inadequate level of iron of 56. I became extremely tired, then moved into deep achiness--the latter which is a common symptom of anemia for me. And there is plenty of research out there which underscores that one can be anemic without having a low hemoglobin. That fit me to a T.
And to the contrary, the extreme stress did, in fact, lower my iron from 104 to 56. I had done labs before these 8 days, and my iron was 104. By the 8th and final day of this extreme physical activity, I started feeling quite tired, then started into achiness on the 9th and subsequent days. I then did labs--I was now 56. And when you read about the free radical production associated with stress, you find that free radicals feed on iron. The correlation was strong.
Today, I am unable to bring that serum iron back up, and is the mystery I seek an explanation for.

I request you to send a complete list of all the blood investigations you have done.
It will help me correlate better and give an informed opinion.

Patient replied :

I am hoping to do RBC, HCT, MCV, MCHC, neutrophils, CBC with diff this week. I hope to also do copper and ceruplasmin, which has been mentioned twice to me. Whoever can figure this out is going to get a gold star from me!

I can definitely help you provided i see the complete list of test reports you're getting done.
Otherwise it is difficult to correlate.
This consult will be open. You can get back with reports anytime.

Dr. Prasad Eswaran
Category: Hematologist
Doctorate in Medicine (Fellowship in Oncology), DM,  Madras Medical College & Govt. General Hospital, Chennai, India.

Doctor of Medicine (Residency in Radiation Oncology) , MD, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamilnadu, India, 2004-06.

Diploma in Medical Radiology & Therapy (Residency in Radiation Oncology), D.M.R.T, Madras Medical College & Govt. General Hospital, Chennai, India, 2004-06.

Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery - M.B.B.S, Govt. Stanley Medical College & Hospital, Chennai, India, 1998-2004.
Dr. Prasad Eswaran and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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