For those of us fighting critical fatigue, I am learning that those numbers on our blood tests that are just on the edge of being within the normal range can actually indicate underlying issues. Take iron for example.
My recent blood test showed my ferritin level (iron) was 14.4 (range 11.0 - 306.8). My doctor said it was just fine because it was within what the lab considered normal.
Come to find out that scientists have long known that women who suffer from fatigue and who have ferritin levels of less than 50 Ug/l in one study and less than 20 Ug/l in another study could have significantly more energy just by taking supplements. My energy has already improved some by taking 5000 i.u. of Vitamin D3 every day (I was deficient in Vitamin D on a blood test). The question for me is "Can taking a daily iron supplement improve my energy even more?" That's the self test I am going to do at the moment by adding an iron supplement to my daily routine.
Here is a link to a study from 2003. bmj.com/content/326/7399/11...
Here is another one from 2012. cmaj.ca/content/184/11/1247...
Yet, why hasn't any doctor recommended this to me? Don't they have access to the research too?
I am now learning through my research that my previous blood test results indicated a possible issue with anemia, yet it's been ignored for years because my values were just out of normal range or just within normal range. And it wasn't just my ferritin levels that were just barely within the normal range indicating possible anemia.
Combining a higher Platelet blood test with a low Mean Platelet Value can indicate anemia, infection, inflammation, autoimmune, or cancer. So there it is again -- possible anemia. Yet, my doctors never suggested trying an iron supplement. Why - because the labs always had me on the very edge of being normal or just in the abnormal range. In addition, my doctors aren't familiar with these studies. They go by what the lab ranges are and don't question anything that is close to normal. Ughhhh.
I realize many with Lupus and Hughes have low platelets. While it can be more unusual, scientists have learned that one can have these autoimmune issues and have high platelets. My platelet values in the last two years have ranged from just over the high range to just below the high range (384 - 402). (Some labs put normal at 150 - 450, while other labs put normal at 150-400). In addition, my recent Mean Platelet Volume (MPV) blood test came in at 7.1 (depending upon the lab, normal can be defined as below 7.4 or below 7.0). Of course my lab was one that uses below 7.0 as being out of normal, so my doctor completely ignored my 7.1 MPV.
So what does this mean, I am on the edge of being high on platelets and low on MPV. In dozens of scientific studies, this can indicate anemia. Couple that with my low ferritin and why hasn't any doctor ever suggested that I try an iron supplement? My self-test in taking iron supplements begins today.
Patients suffering from genetic disorders such as lupus or hemolytic disorders such as anemia also are most likely to have a lower MPV reading than normal. Autoimmune disorders which include lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia are among the major reasons that may result in a person having abnormally low values of MPV. So it may be that my MPV is low because of this -- but for me with severe debilitating fatigue it is worth trying the iron supplements.
Why is this important? When there are days when one has to lay down all day because of fatigue and other (most days) where one must take a lay down during the day and barely functions the rest of the day -- that is when if the doctors give up on us -- we still have to keep looking.
I had a doctor last week suggest that I should just accept fatigue as part of my life and stop visiting with doctors and doing blood tests. She suggested that if anything, I should visit reducing my stress. I know how to reduce my stress -- I need to get rid of the fatigue. That doctor went onto say that even in 100 years, she wasn't sure that doctors would know the cause of my fatigue nor have a way to improve it. Boy she is the type of person to who tells her patients to give up and go for disability. Disability is fine as needed -- but just give up. Not me.
The answers are out there. If you are ignored or dismissed by doctors -- stand steadfast -- there are answers. Today I feel empowered, despite being dismissed by a recent doctor. The scientific studies back up my position. Today I have something to try. Hooray! There is hope!