Do I need to speak to my GP?

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Hi,

Can anyone pls tell me if I should be doing anything /seeking help from my GP? 

I was diagnosed with anaemia 3 yrs ago (haemoglobin was  8.2) tried iron tablets but couldn’t tolerate so have been doing nothing except trying to eat lots of iron rich foods. I’m still having regular blood tests but don’t speak to my Dr when I get the results. Thought I was better as haemoglobin is now almost normal at 11.7 but just noticed my transferrin saturation index is still only at 5%, serum ferritin 4.2 and serum iron 3.3, indicating my iron stores are still rock bottom and not improved for 3 yrs. I’m feeling constantly tired, struggling to get through my working day, headaches, blurry vision and a host of other problem which I thought were to do with having  hypothyroidism too. Thyroid is currently ok according to blood test so thinking the anaemia is what is making me feel so rough. Would an iron infusion help me at this point? Any suggestions would be appreciated as I hate bothering my GP.  Thank you 😊 

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi

    Blood test results usually come with a reference range if your iron and ferritin are both below the reference range then you may absolutely (UK) be entitled to an iron infusion.   Iron infusions can definitely help with your symptoms and getting your iron back to normal levels. Worth discussing anyway but more especially with the aforementioned. Btw I suspect you have iron deficiency anaemia which is different from anemia which some doctors only treat low haemogloblin. Good luck. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Jenny for your reply. I am below the reference ranges in the Uk 

      Transferrin saturation index 5% (16-50)

      Serum iron 3.3 (11-30)

      Serum ferritin 4.2 (10-20)

      My gp suggested iron infusions ages ago but thought I’d react to it more than taking the tablets so I didn’t want to make myself feel worse than I do already and because the reason for my anaemia has now stopped (menopausal heavy periods for 12 yrs) I thought just a healthy iron rich diet would put me right (and has worked with my haemoglobin levels which are almost back to normal). Just wasn’t sure if the things that are still low really need addressing or will come right in time. 

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    • Posted

      Iron transfusion can have side effects but my personal experience was great, I would definitely reccomend. 

      As your results are so low you are entitled to a transfusion. No wonder you feel poorly. I was going to say I was surprised they didn’t whip you in for one but I seee they tried. You could feel like your real self within 4-8 weeks of the transfusion. 

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  • Posted

    You’re not bothering the doctor - it’s their job to keep you healthy. Of course you should go. Iron tablets did not work for me either. I was referred to a consultant and am now on three-monthly iron infusions that work. Meanwhile they’re trying to establish the cause of the anaemia. Good luck and get well soon.
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  • Posted

    Morning Jenny

    From my experience which is similar to yours as I have a mal-absorbtion of the gut, have B12 Injections, taking 125mg of Thyroxine and have suffered from Pernicious Anaemia as a child and currently my Feratin 9.

    I am taking Oral Iron Syrup and currently being monitored for 3 months.  If that does not improve then they intend to go down the route of an iron infusion.  Hope you get sorted as it is a horrible feeling and symptoms.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply...I get confused as the hypothyroidism gives so many symptoms too.  Hope you feel better soon and good luck.
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  • Posted

    You’re on uphill battle. It is impossible to get all your iron from food. They don’t tell you what to do to absorb it for one thing! 

    Been anemia patient 5 years can’t take supps and food didn’t work.

    I get iron regular iron infusions. Some of us do not MAKE iron so our stored (Ferritin) gets used up then you iron drops. I ended up with 2 blood transfusion because my Dr was inept. Hematologist or knowledgeable PCP is what you need.

    I test often when I am at 13 HMG and below 44 HMT or if my Ferritin gets to 30 I infuse!

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    • Posted

      Hi tiger13

      Thanks for your reply. It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s any better in 3 yrs. I did turn down a blood transfusion about a year ago when I couldn’t breathe at all after a very serious bleed which lasted 3 days - I seriously thought I was bleeding to death. My haemoglobin is now 11.7 (which I am very pleased about) but my haematocrit is 37 (which is just within the normal reference range) but my iron stores are still so low. I’m going to call my gp tomorrow to discuss. Thank you for your help, iron infusions do seem worth a try, best wishes 

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  • Posted

    Quick update...spoken to GP now and he is not concerned about my low ferritin levels as my haemoglobin is almost back to normal (despite feeling lousy all the time) and says no need for another blood test for 12 months. He said iron infusion not needed but iron tablets still recommended (even though I can’t tolerate). Now I am trying an iron syrup called Galfer Syrup on prescription (my suggestion)  - 5ml twice a day, worth a try, although won’t know my numbers for a year now. Anyone else tried this syrup with any success? Thanks
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    • Posted

      Also...anyone else heard of the Iron Clinic in Harley Street? I spoke with them, they were extremely helpful and said I could have an iron infusion privately at a cost of £650 - not sure if medical insurance would cover it but have decided against it for now. 

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    • Posted

      You should not have to go private like this. If I were you, I’d give the medication a go then if no improvement after a month go back to the GP. You should not be feeling so poorly. Is there another doctor in the practice?
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    • Posted

      PS idea : ask your GP for a referral to a consultant. My iron infusions are now organised by the consultant at the hospital. If you are feeling ill after so many years I’d have thought this would be a logical step. 

      Good luck.

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  • Posted

    If your iron or ferritin levels are low after 2 months of supplementation you should ask your gp for an iron infusion. 

    GP probably said infusion not necessary for anaemia because you are not anaemic but you do have iron deficiency anaemia which needs treating too. 

    Ask for monthly tests to monitor. Guidelines state when they have to refer. 

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  • Posted

    You know that your thyroid gland needs iron as well? I have similar issue and hate taking supplements, since they upset my stomach. However I tried diet and when it did not help I got forced to take some supplements. Currently I am taking syrup since I can divide it several doses through the day... but it is full of sugar and other miserable stuff. Let me know if you find a good dietary solution.
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