Low red blood count advise needed

Hi I'm asking for advice for my daughter she has lupus and has not been feeling well her gp arranged some blood test mainly to rule ou thyroid problems and hormone problems as she had a etopic pregancy in feb her bloods have come back and doctor called her to say her rbc was very low I don't know how low as she didn't ask she was told to increase green veg and red meat and to have a retest in 3 months I was surprised because her gp did not recommend iron tablets and as she dosent eat red meat I suggested she take iron supplements but I'm now beginning to doubt my advise can taking iron supplements mask b12 deficancy or any other problems she has a very good GP whom she trusts I'm just confused as to why iron tablets were not suggested I'm not sure what rbc means is this the same as anemia if low I have also posted on lupus forum to see if they have any ideas

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  • Hi

    Here is a link to info but I think you need to ask your daughter to get the figures and also ask if B12 and folate were checked:

    labtestsonline.org/understa...

  • HiRush2112,

    I think her GP may just want to see if diet may make a change, but if your daughter is going to be retested in 3 months then it may be wise not to self supplement. 3 months is not that long to wait and her GP may well then do further test.

    I hope this makes sense,

    Kind regards,

    Marre.

  • Thanks marre that's what I thought after I said take iron supplements as I said she dosent eat red meat but someone on lupus forum has suggested sea same seeds and hemp seeds

  • I'd not supplement with anything until she has had further investigations, testing possibly active B12 etc and then may get a diagnosis with the right treatment. If she supplements now with anything she may skewer results, far better to get the right diagnosis now that having to wait even longer cause she has skewered results by supplementing.

  • It depends if your daughter's blood tests indicated a macrocytic or microcytic anaemia and it would seem they weren't showing anything eitherway - just an anaemia.

    Lack of meat causes macrocytic and lack of iron causes microcytic. If you get the two together then you can get cells of the same size.

    If your daughter took an iron supplement and she had got an iron deficiency together with a b12 deficiency, then sometimes the iron supplementation reveals the b12 deficiency.

    So you can be very ill with a b12 deficiency but it will not show on blood tests.

    I'm with Secondchance on this one and I wouldn't wait the 3 months. I'd go back and ask if folate, iron and b12 could be checked - if they haven't been already.

    Also if they have already suggested increasing meat and folate, it may be that she is showing signs of a macrocytic anaemia (both cause this) and her doctors have simply decided it is due to her diet because they know she doesn't eat red meat.

    It is actually very difficult to become dietary deficient in b12 - usually limited to vegans - or very long term vegetarians. And that doesn't preclude them from also having a malabsorption problem!

    B12 deficiency can cause permanent damage - so I would go back.

    I don't know whether the seeds recommendation was related to b12 but if it was, don't bother. They will only contain b12 analogues which the human body can't utilize.

  • Thanks very much poppet she is not total veggie just no red meat I think I will get her to take your advice and perhaps just take a multi. It with iron that only gives 100 percent of rda of iron that way she is not over supplementing and hopefully that will help if it's just bog standard anemia

  • No, no. My advice wasn't to take a multi! It was to go back. If your daughter doesn't have a severely restricted diet, and it doesn't sound as if she has, then the indications are that she has a malabsorption problem which would require injections of b12. I think she needs to go back to her GP, find out if they have already done the tests, and if they haven't ask for them to be done.

    A multivit if she has a malabsorption problem will do nothing for her physically but it will hide the problem in blood test results.

    I think the doctor is putting everything down to her dietary limitations but these clearly aren't severe restrictions and she should be getting the tests and having treatment if necessary.

  • Oh ok thanks poppet

    Won't give her vits will get her find out what bloods they did

  • Thank you!

    Could you imagine the gossip 'Poppet said give her multivits' 'Never. The woman's gone stark staring mad!' -

    Oh, yeah, the gossips say that anyway!

    It's the worst thing out Rush. They do nothing for someone with a malabsorption problem. They don't help the symptoms but they push up the blood levels and hide the deficiency in the blood.

    Supplements are a different matter - the 1,000cmcg + things, but she really needs an answer from her doc if she can get it and that 'should be' easily achievable and then you can take it from there.

  • Thanks for advice though it was what I thought after telling her to supplement I send her back to docs although she has a appotment with rheumy for lupus soon she aground women now but us mums just can't stop worrying

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