Hi, do many have iron deficient anaemia and RA? I requested my notes from my surgery and noticed that as far back as August a comment had been made on my ferritin levels(low), transferrin(hight)and transferrin saturation(low).My Hgb though has been normal. I was severely anaemic in April 09 and my GP decided it was to do with periods.(but they weren't particularly heavy).I have been having problems lately (last few months) with extreme fatigue, pins and needles, muscle twitching, chest tightness and aching thighs when walking uphill(or stairs), depression. My B12 level is 186 which my GP said is normal. I am now wondering if a lot of my symptoms could be caused by the low ferritin levels. Seeing a new GP monday so have a list of questions for him. I just want to feel better than I do now.

17 Replies

  • I have been aneamic and had to take iron supplements a few times since developing R.A. over the last few years. It happens when my R.A. is not under control. My rheumy doc. said that the inflamation stops us from absorbing the iron from our food as we should do. I also think that some of the drug treatments can also cause the same problems. I always feel very tired, washed out and tearful during these times, not at all nice but this improves with an iron supplement and better control of my R.A. Hope you get sorted on Monday,so that you will begin to feel better. best wishes Zeen.

  • Thanks Zeen, have looked up iron deficiency anaemia and also anaemia of chronic seems in anaemia of chronic disease ferritin levels are high as opposed to low in iron deficient anaemia. Whenever I rang the surgery for results(whilst being on methotrexate) I was told my blood tests were normal. Nobody has bothered to tell ME that my ferritin levels are low again. I have been off work for 4 months and seem to be getting worse rather than better. I had another treadmill test a few weeks ago and wasn't able to complete it due to feeling so weak. My Hgb in 2009 was 8.4. Its ok now. Just so fed up and no energy to do much at all.

  • Yes I've been anaemic for years and have 3 monthly B12 injections. I think it's quite common for people with RA and on the drug combinations we take. Another cross we have to bear I think - sorry I can't be more help

    B xx

  • Thanks Bub,

    What are your B12 levels ? My last one was 186 apparently-was only told by occupational nurse. (she thought it was low), The surgery told me it was normal(but getting so many symptoms )

  • Don't know tbh. I was diagnosed with pernicious anaemia by my gastroenterologist about 5 years ago when I had to have an ulcer repaired. I've been having 3 monthly B12 injections ever since. I really feel it though if I'm late with them - I get even more fatigued than I am normally lol.

  • I had initially thought a lot of my symptoms were from being anaemic but after being told my Hgb was OK left it at that. So shocked to see how low my ferritin levels are and hoping thats why I feel so bad, cause something can be done about it. I also have parietal cell antibodies (but normal intrinsic factor) and have read that IDA can lead to pernicious anaemie=another question to ask the new GP

  • My new GP brought up the subject of pernicious anaemia and reading up on it it all fits. Hoping the B12 injections will help.

  • My daughter has B12 injections. She gets fatigue and pins and needles. There is a website that might help. It is the Pernicious Anaemia Society.

    My consultant said that anaemia is common with RA. And Sulfasalazine seems to cause anaemia. I think Iron needs Vitamin C to get absorbed properly.

    Anyway, best of luck with the new GP.

  • Thanks Phoebe, my symptoms actually became worst after starting sulfasalazine, so will mention that to GP. I am quite careful with what I eat and always take my medication washed down with orange juice(freshly squeezed I like the best)


  • Hi all, don't know if this helps anyone but when I was told that I was a bit anaemic I increased my vitamin C tablets to a higher strength one (1000mg a day) and the next time I asked rheumy nurse how was my anaemia she said that it was now ok. Appart from was my RA more stable which I dont know the only other thing I think may have helped was the increased dose of vit. C.

    Judi xxx

  • vitamin c helps your body absorb iron more effectively

  • Hi before I was actually diagnosed with RA my GP suspected that I was anaemic and put me on 600mg of Iron tablets ( fero oxide ), due to my blood levels, but hasn't suggested I keep taking them after I was diagnosed

  • Hi, perhaps it's also worth checking out your D3 levels too since the regular blood checks don't include this. Mine were almost off the scale with deficiency but after a few days of taking large amounts of it as prescribed by my consultant, i seemed to have much more energy. I get my levels checked every 6 months or so and take supplements in the winter but get out in that sun during the summer (inbetween the downpours!). I read somewhere that a defeciency can be related to depression too. Worth a shot and can be organised through your GP.

  • If you have low ferritin levels then you might need to boost your intake of iron. Talk to your doctors about it.

    Anaemia of chronic inflammatory illnesses is common, but not due to any particular dietary deficiency, so you may continue to be mildly anaemic, but feel less tired with adequate iron stores.

  • Thankyou all, off to a new GP tomorrow. Going armed with a load of questions.My last GP told me when my Hgb was normal to just take a couple of iron tablets a week. He hasn't kept me informed of my low ferritin levels though. If he had I would have upped the iron.Going to ask the new surgery if I can have copies of my blood results as they get them, at least then I can keep on top of things. Was just thinking back to when I first went to give blood(many many years ago). I don't think they would let me as the pinprick test was abnormal. Got a feeling I was anaemic then. Hope I will have time to discuss all I want to tomorrow. They have give me a double slot.


  • Hi, I've got pernicious anaemia and my b12level is 134 which is very low. I have 3 monthly injections to help this. I'm told by others on the PAS website that your levels should be really between 500 and 1000. It can cause damage if it isn't corrected so please make sure this is looked into. I was neglected for years and I have lots of problems from it. I don't want to worry you about it but just look on the web and on Health unlocked for more details. Angie x

  • Thank you Angie

    I went to a new GP on monday and without any prompting from me he suggested I have B12 injections. What a breath of fresh air. I have known for a couple of years that my levels are the lower limit of normal but got told by the GP they were fine. I also told him that I have parietal cell antibodies and he actually mentioned the possibility of pernicious anaemia. Having a course of 4 injections and then seeing him again in 3 weeks. Finally feel I am being listened to.


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