exhausted -Low iron level ???

lynnemarie1123
lynnemarie1123 Member Posts: 295
edited 11. Feb 2014, 22:15 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi all

I hope you are in good health xx
I have been struggling of late from one thing and another - rhumy passed me to physio - which I got a lot out of before xmas. but due to stresses etc of the xmas period i was in a huge amount of pain - I have v heavy monthlies :oops: and when my 3 monthly bloods came round I asked for the nurse to check my iron levels - bloods came back - gp got in touch with me as my iron levels are low. - he told me to on iron tablets. - do we think the cause for this is before mentioned or the disease!??? - oops forgot to mention I have unspecified sero negative arthritis xxx

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,098
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm not sure even your GP could tell you that without tests, certainly not us. Heavy periods can cause it as can RA as can the meds we take for it :roll: I hope your d8cs will keep an eye on this. Well done you for spotting it and being so proactive.
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    You need to have a ferritin test (blood test). Sometimes it's done at the same time as a CBC. It can tell the doctor whether you are anemic from lack of iron versus a different reason, (ie low vit B12, inflammation, etc.)

    HTH,
    Anna
  • salamander
    salamander Member Posts: 1,906
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've just finished a course of iron tablets as my ferritin was low. I have sero -ve too and was told it was that which caused it.
  • As5567
    As5567 Member Posts: 665
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Its more than possible it has been caused by RA and the medications you take, boomer has given some good advice which I would ask my doctor about if I was in your situation.

    I have have been prescribed both Iron and Folic acid tablets over the years due to low blood levels.
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,276
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I suppose all you can do is take the iron and see if there is a lot of difference in your iron levels.sorry Im not much help but I see the other have given you some advice...
  • lynnemarie1123
    lynnemarie1123 Member Posts: 295
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks all for the help, I have bought some muliti vitamins with iron today so have started taking them, I am hoping they help. I have decided at my next bloods to check again and see if there is any improvements.

    my nails are rubbish quality too - i have often wondered why but it makes sense after researching low iron levels on the net. so hopefully this will improve too - I am sick of sleeping at the moment - i am suffering a cold and had ofsted at work this week so I am thinking all these have contributed xx thank you for being there xx
  • toady
    toady Member Posts: 1,405
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've been told my anaemia was inflammation related too, it has improved as my RA has become better controlled though I have taken some iron as well, if you are anaemic for any reason it will certainly exacerbate any tiredness and as you have notice other classic symptoms like poor nails then hopefully getting your iron levels up should help.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,098
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    If your GP says you need iron pills he ought to prescribe them. The quantity of iron in a multivitamin pill might not be enough. Also, you need to know how long to take them for.
  • lynnemarie1123
    lynnemarie1123 Member Posts: 295
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    he was a bit rubbish really - and it was only over a telephone consultation on friday tea time x will make an appointment next week to discuss properly xx
  • Fionabee
    Fionabee Member Posts: 146
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi LM
    I too have a low Haemaglobin, I'm post op at the moment, but I know I'm always borderline because whenever I've tried to donate blood i've always failed the quick test they do to test your Hb.
    I didn't want to take tablets, I'm always bunged up & they make it worse, so I thought I'd takle it from the diet point of view.
    You might already know this from your own research, so sorry if I'm being patronising! If you are still menstruating you need about 15mg iron daily (older women it's only 8.5mg) I knew liver was the best source, but I just couldn't eat it, and greens, but you need to eat a wheelbarrow full to make a difference. Breakfast cereal seems to be the best most easily accessible source and a lot of it seems to be iron fortified, and all boxes have a good panel telling you all the nutritional info you need to know (I found most packaging doesn't mention iron)weetabix & special k coming out on top. Interestingly, the supermarket own brands contain more iron than ones made by K*ll**s. i'm hoping a couple of extra bowls a day will sort me out.
    Am having my Feretin checked this week.
    The community nurse who visited me post op recommended something called Spatone for upping iron levels, its a sachet of liquid you add to juice every day, each sachet (approx 20mls) is supposed to contain as much iron as 8kg of broccoli :0) so have been taking that as well! Sold in supermarkets & chemist.
    If this doesn't work, it will be iron tablets. Frustrating that my family eat the same diet and appear to have no problems.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Your doctor should prescribe the proper iron tablets (I reckon multi-vits are a waste of money as they can't have enough of everything) and you can address this with diet too. A Guiness a day is a good start :wink: . Of course iron tablets can cause 'blocked drains' - I am having similar trouble at the moment thanks to the increased amount of cocos thanks to my broken arm, so I have re-started my Docusate capsules (also from the GP) and am blithely excreting with no discomfort. :D DD
  • lynnemarie1123
    lynnemarie1123 Member Posts: 295
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I like liver and have had it recently. I have an app on monday to remove my copper coil which may be the cause - i will carry on with my multivitamins with iron for now and re check my bloods at my next app.

    soooooooooo tired of it all xxxx
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,098
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Whatever the cause, I'm with DD re multivitamins. If the doc says you're iron levels are low it's him / her who should be dealing with it. Please keep us informed.
  • lynnemarie1123
    lynnemarie1123 Member Posts: 295
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    He didnt offer them though - he said I should buy some???
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    If your doctor says you need a proper supplement he should write you a script. Otherwise you could ask a pharmacist; the specific iron-only supplements are usually behind the counter as they can be dangerous. I would ask for a script though, then you are getting a pharmaceutical grade supplement. These are more potent than the otc ones.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,098
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm with Boomer. I find it extraordinary that he says you need iron yet won't prescribe it. I very much doubt he'd prescribe a multivitamin though. I'd go back to the GP.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    That's probably because it's the cheaper option (I'm not sure about individual prescription costs because I have a pre-payment certificate - it's around £7.80p?) but disappointing from your point of view. Ask your pharmacist about which he would recommend, hopefully removing the coil will help the period side of things and your general health will soon begin to improve. DD
  • lynnemarie1123
    lynnemarie1123 Member Posts: 295
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    he did say i can buy them from over the counter!- which probably now i think about it did mean the chemist - the annoying thing is i have a pre payment script at the moment (due to run out on 17th) - going on monday after work regarding something else -so will ask them to give me a prescription and explain the situation xx thanks again guys xx
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,098
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I guess it is possible that he thought it'd be cheaper for you to buy them over the counter but, even so, I'd have thought some monitoring is needed as iron levels can be low for several reasons and also they can be too high so taking a supplement for a long time without medical advice isn't good either. Please let's know how you get on.
  • Cariad71
    Cariad71 Member Posts: 99
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi,

    Just to let you know if uou havent found out already, you can buy proper iron tabs over the counter (ie by asking at the chemist not supermarket or picking off shelves) and I'm pretty sure they're cheap, maybe a couple of £ but I haven't worked in community pharmacy for a few years. I forget English people pay for prescriptions so maybe that is why your GP didn't prescribe them as it may be cheaper to buy.

    Ask your pharmacist, the basic one usually prescribed first is ferrous sulphate 200mg three times a day but if this upsets your stomach you can get other 'salts' of iron that can be better tolerated such as ferrous fumarate. or you can go for that straight away. Take it with food and like someone above said, it can cause constipation and black tarry stools so be prepared! Xx
  • lynnemarie1123
    lynnemarie1123 Member Posts: 295
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    the only ones ive bought are the multi vitamins with iron - I guess they wont be strong enough - bearing in mind I have probably had this problem for many years, at least something is better than nothing i suppose. having my copper coil out tomorrow - so hopefully that will help with the issue xx

    i will re test my bloods after and then see how it is - I am used to having to look after myself - doctors are useless! no continuity xx
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,098
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    As cariad71 has just proved, pharmacists are very informed and helpful as regards meds. Your GP(s) should deal with these things but pharmacists can answer a lot of med questions even though they can't prescribe.

    Continuity can be difficult for GPs as they see so many patients in a day. They can't really remember much about any. I presume nothing when I see mine – which isn't very often - but tell them of anything in the past that may be relevant both when they're diagnosing and prescribing. I work on the basis that the easier I can make their job the better the outcome will be for me.

    I hope the coil removal goes well. Keep us informed about the bloods.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    In my experience of this malarkey we rarely know stuff until we need to know it. DD
  • Cariad71
    Cariad71 Member Posts: 99
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    You're right about the multivitamin, doubtful it has anywhere near a 'treatment of deficiency' dose of iron in it but better than nothing until you can get something.

    Thanks sticky! Most people don't know that pharmacists have a lot more knowledge of medicines than drs, especially as the only time most people think they've seen one is hiding behind the counter in the dispensary at boots! It did occur to me after posting this that I should be careful about doling out meds advice on here! Lynnemarie you can most definitely buy one but sticky is also right that your GP should be overseeing the anaemia problem, and even if you do buy some they should be arranging follow up bloods etc to check your iron levels. Anaemia of chronic disease, as its called, isn't always as straightforward as correcting iron either, another reason your GP needs input along the way.

    I certainly wouldn't say drs are useless, long gone are the days where people got to see their 'regular' GP, the demands on the health service are ever changing and most of them really do do their best despite what it may look like from the outside and they go into being a Dr generally because they really care. Im with sticky, i usually pour out my entire history each time i see them because theres no way you can expect them to remember it or you! But I understand how frustrating it can be getting the medical help you need, I'm just lucky (or unlucky?!) I see it from both sides working for the NHS.

    Good luck with getting some iron into you. My husband seems to think a good steak might solve my problems bless him :lol:
  • Fionabee
    Fionabee Member Posts: 146
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Just a thought LM - do you pay for your prescriptions? If you do, there will be iron tablets that cost less than the £7.90 (i think) prescription charge, perhaps thats why he didn't give you a script. I have a prepayment card, thought it would be worth while, if just for this year. At the moment I am taking paracetomol regularly (along with other meds) and have been unable to get to the shops alone, having a huge box on presxription has been a godsend.

Who's Online

5
5 Guests