Really not well

During the Christmas break I stopped taking my ferrous fumarate (under GP advice as she sad take it for 3 months only). For the last 2 weeks I have had a really bad headache and sharp pains in the back of my head accompanied with vertigo. On Monday I clearly looked unwell as girls on my course were concerned for me and didn't want me driving myself home. Yesterday I was unable to attend uni and made an emergency appt with the GP. It was my usual GP (the one that thinks I only need 1 injection every 2 months). She did a thorough check of me for bleeds then said she wanted to refer me for a brain scan, though she thinks it is all linked to my B12D. I asked if a lack of ferritin could be the problem and she said no it would drop slowly, not suddenly, and, as my levels were 14 before starting the tablets, that my original levels were fine anyway. Should I go back on ferrous fumarate today as I am back on placement on Monday doing 12.5 hr shifts and I do not want to go sick? (I will have to make my hrs up in my summer break otherwise - I only get 7 weeks off a year like a normal working person but the 3 in the year I am actually working extremely hard still on uni stuff so I actually want the 4 week break in the summer to rest and prepare for the final year of my degree). I did tell her about the gastro refusing to do the helicobacter pylori test so she has arranged for me to be tested for that today and she agreed that it is not harmless as he stated. I also told her he said my vit D was fine and stop the supplements and she told me to ignore that advice. I have a feeling I will be off sick from uni again tomorrow, which is the last day before placement starts so I should be there and I have a lunch meeting arranged to go through an essay with a tutor plus my academic tutor wants to speak to me before I go on practice so she can update occy health about my current health and she is concerned about me. I have been injecting daily since Fri to try and get myself fit for practice (the GP is not aware) and I am due my 2 monthly jab today. The GP was shocked that I have not heard from the haematologist and is chasing it up.

If I were to go back on ferrous fumarate how do I ensure my levels are fine? - I know too much ferritin is not good.

13 Replies

  • I would take the iron, but at a fairly low (say 200mg) daily dose. Then see how you feel.

    I'm not sure how ferritin behaves over time but, as it's biology, I'm sure that it will be highly variable. So, without any testing, the best thing is to suck it and see.

  • I have bought my usual 210mg and I usually take 2 but maybe 1 would be better then.

  • Can't you just make an appointment with a nurse for a blood test and ask for your ferritin level to be checked as you've been taking iron? I don't think you need the doctor to agree as it is important to keep an eye on your levels if you are taking iron. I get mine checked every year without seeing the doctor.

  • can I? The GP said no to my ferritin being checked so assumed she had the say whether it is done or not. I am considering a thyroid test by blue horizon and that includes ferritin.

  • It's worth phoning your practice and asking the receptionist whether you can book a blood test with the nurse. If they ask, just say that you would like your ferritin checking as you're taking iron - the worst they can do is say no.

  • I once tried to buy iron supplements from a pharmacy and the pharmacist said I couldn't buy them unless I'd had a ferritin blood test within the last 6 months. That is how important it is to keep a check on your ferritin level.

  • ok I will do that. I am seeing another GP on fri so I will speak to him first and then try the receptionist next week if he says no.

  • well after one dose of ferrous fumarate, I am nowhere near as dizzy - of course I have just got up and it worsens as the day goes on so there is a chance yet, but .......... I may have been right about those ferritin levels.

  • Hi can I ask do you take any other supplements? A diet high in potassium is very important when having regular injections, also do you take folic acid? a lot of drs forget about this, the b12 work with the folic acid so need each other, with regular injections you need 5mg a day. The same as D3 needs K2 to enable the body to absorb it correctly. Without the folic acid (folate) the b12 is just floating around doing nothing.

  • See the thread 'Folic Acid' for a discussion on whether 5 mg per day is a good, or bad, idea.

  • Yes I have read that and my opinion is that folic acid should be taken at 5mg per day with regular injections, yes it can mask a b12 deficiency if taken before a low b12 diagnosis is done, so therefore should only be taken after a deficiency has been confirmed and b12 therapy started.

  • I am on D3 and Folic acid (5mg). I am trying to eat high potassium/magnesium foods

  • I had a meeting with my academic tutor today and she is quite concerned about me. She is forwarding the latest details to occy health. I have a meeting with them on 21st Jan. My tutor was telling what the options were that they would consider and one of them was me temporarily stepping off the course if I am not able to develop professionally at the mo or am a risk to the women I care for. This would be the end of the world to me and I know it is not a definite, far from it, but it has got me scared. If it happens I am going to make a huge complaint about the GP - I was unwell but not as unwell as I am now, and that is because she refused injections every other day until no further improvement. I have been self injecting since Fri but the damage is taking lit to reverse now.

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