Is this anemia or not?

Is this anemia or not?

Hi all, I am hoping someone can help me?

I have severe Health anxiety and I opted for a blood test online last week, just a brief overview of what happened ~

Finger prick done on Saturday mid morning and the sample was only received by the lab on Wednesday morning, therefore the sample was left in hot or not suitable temperatures for 4 days. The result came through last week as HB - normal, WCC - normal, PLT - normal but MCV - high at 112

I had a FBC in March of this year and all was normal so this is very confusing to me! I saw my GP on Friday last week and he says this is of no concern to him and re-test in a month....

I have developed stomach cramping for the last couple of weeks together with what I can only describe as electric shocks in my right leg.

Any advise of the blood tests would be great! Thank you

55 Replies

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  • you really must ask for your levels and lab ranges normal is not always normal also l think a full blood count does not take into account ferritin levels your blood count could be normal and ferritin levels severely depleted my ranges were

    full blood 112 range 115-500 they only checked my ferritin because I had just gone below 115 or they wouldn't have bothered my ferritin came back as 6 severe deficiency b12 came back at 140 lab range 110-670 this is nowhere near an acceptable level they said it was normal so please don't be afraid to ask doctors hate home tests but we are all too often pushed down this path because of there lack of interest

  • Hi

    Thanks for replying, no afraid to ask doctors but I thought Ferritin is iron deficiency which results in a low MCV level and mine where high or have I got confused with all the jargon of levels etc.

  • You've got it correct. Ferritin is iron and low iron would result in low MCV. Either folate or B12 deficiency would cause high MCV, so it would be good to ask for both of those levels to be checked. Neither is typically tested on a routine full blood count.

  • Thanks for your reply. What is strange is 4 months ago my fbc was very normal actually my mcv was 94 so this sudden jump is quite strange, dont you think?

  • Finger prick blood samples may be easy to collect and transport, but the small size means the variation from one sample to another is quite a bit higher than from a venous sample. I'm not sure if long storage will affect the MCV, but 115 fL isn't massively high.

    However, just to be sure I would ask the doctor for another test. This time they should measure B12 and folate levels as deficiencies in either can cause macrocytic anaemia.

  • Mma??whats that

  • Hi there

    Thanks for the reply.

    I know I do not think I will ever do another blood test by post again it just fuels my anxiety even more! Macrocytic anemia does not tend towards internal bleeding does it or iron deficiency as I am scared that my stomach cramps could be colon cancer now (sorry I struggle unbelievably with HA)

  • Please don't feel like that my blood test was the best £100 I'd ever spent on myself... And I have some gorgeous bags and trinkets! I did BH and the tube as I had my general gp blood test so had the tube for them filled at the same time... They didn't mind at the hospital... I decided that I wouldn't do finger prick .... I though about the pain and scene itself 😊 I sent it straight out of hospital via their packet... I would NEVER have heard that my vit D was 15 my b12 94 ferritin low and the crp or cpr is bad via the full blood count from the GP as I purposely waited two weeks after I knew via online service GP had results, before sending a copy of the private test in... After that I got a call asking me in saying why had I done a private test ( The male GP is an a**hole I left because of him and as no lady GP.. Had a few yrs where wasn't ill just stupidly kept taking thyroid tabs but had nice lady GP... But she left... The old practice gained a lady so I returned ) but my lady GP was on holiday ... So I stuck up for myself because of good advice from here and Martyn and said " Never mind that were you ever going to call me in re your blood test result, as it all got taken at the same time! Look how deficient I am in things"... His reply... It's not that bad and a mickey mouse treatment plan... Nothing for iron or ferritin... Vit D plus given no k2.:.. Folic acid given and one jab every two weeks for four weeks then every 3 months re b12!!! No ones ever had the same concoction as that I said he said 94 is not that bad again!! He's an idiot.. When I had a bone scan I had already in the pipeline as in March was put on t3 the scan lady said with vit d 15 it's good news the scan is normal but we panic when someone's reading on the Osteo unit is 50!

    My advice to you is; if you test again yourself and my long winded story shows you why, if you can afford it, it's a life changer... The finger pick I've heard gives better concentration of some thing ask in a separate question, folk will help... Do the one you feel better about if it comes to that... And just pay for next day delivery if you worry... I didn't but if you do it's a few £ more to know it got there asap... Big hugs you did brilliant doing the test at all and for ending up here... Hope you've not fallen asleep reading this 😃 x

  • Hi

    Thanks for your advice.....I think I will retest with my GP in 4 weeks like he suggested BUT I am changing my GP's surgery as the one I am with now are so rubbish....its like its a convenience to see patients for them

  • The private option is always there hun.... If you can't get all you need at GP... I just didn't want you put off of doing the home tests... I appreciate the costs and when I'm back to normal I'm going to look at doing something about this in a major or mainstream way... I don't relish having to go near politicians again, but if that's the route so be it...Hugs x

  • Honestly, it's so unlikely that your cramps are colon cancer. I've had cramps for years and years, seen Gastro's and no cancer lol! I was labelled a hypochondriac by docs and for a while I think I did become one. I'll say that I've learned this: stop thinking the worst! Even if you do have something wrong, worrying and stress will do nothing to change it, just compound and make the problem worse! Life is so much better without constant worry (:

    I don't want to fuel your anxiety, but my only "odd" result was a large MCV. My GP at the time said "some people just have some odd numbers." I eventually pushed for b12 and folate test and voila, deficient in both. It's possible the cause of your large MCV is from b12/folate but the only way you'll find out is testing.

  • Hi Cynosure

    I have been researching google and I read that high MCV is most likely always the case to be deficient in B12 or Folate, what I cannot understand is that I had a FBC 4 months ago and all was normal i.e. MCV was 94 now 4 months later its 112....odd!

    What cause these deficiencies? colon tumors?

  • I'm really not sure about sample sizes and differences they can make.

    If you're talking about b12/folate deficiencies, no I don't think colon cancer is a cause (at least I've never read anything about it). There's a few possible causes. There's of course inadequate dietary intake, but unless you're a vegan I doubt it. There's pernicious anemia, atrophic gastritis, irritable bowel diseases, celiac, or infections (bacterial/parasitic). Also certain drugs can hinder absorption of b12 like PPIs, and stomach surgeries.

    But I think the first step is getting your levels tested to see if you're actually deficient before jumping to the possible causes of it (:

  • Hi again

    Thanks for the insight

    I read last night that pernicious anemia can cause numbness and tingling sensations, I sometimes get on the tips of my fingers and kind of electric shock waves in my leg recently (before I did this test), I am not lethargic which is the common symptom of anemia....

    As you say get tested again and take the results, I really do not want the home blood tests again, I am changing GP surgeries as the one I am with now is not very comforting or great to say the least, I think once registered at the new practice I can then request tests from a new doctor.

  • I think on one hand it's completely normal for everyone to get dead legs/hands, tingling, pins and needles, etc from time to time, by sitting on it funny etc. It's hard to know whether your symptoms are caused by b12 without having levels checked.

    And it's probably even better you get the NHS to test it themselves honestly. I had a private blood test recently for something else and b12/folate happened to come with it. My doctor just sent me for another b12/folate test on the NHS. I've been through it with doctors over the years myself so I understand, I actually had to argue my point out for the first b12 check with the GP when I first had the large MCV.

  • I know what you mean, can you remember what your reading were for your MCV and was all the other counts below normal as they normally say that if you have a high MCV you usually have low Hemoglobin or less red blood cells...... as you know mine was 112 and the "normal" ratio is 105 I think but depends on each lab, so I am told... My GP said if all my results were normal as they are and only MCV was raised to 112 he would flag it as normal and re-test in a month.

  • No I'm afraid I don't remember the numbers. It was years ago. I'm actually unsure whether MCV was the only outlier now as well, there may have been another. I remember hemaglobin was fine but maybe the red blood cells were off too. But it definitely wasn't a 'typical' macrocytic anemia picture. Sorry.

    If I find the papers I'll let you know

  • Oh no problem at all, the problem is this blood test I did only tested Hemoglobin and MCV but not a red blood cell count (which if these people wanted to do the job right surely they would offer the complete picture, they do not even offer a RBC count) so I am wondering if I did a full count this would come back off too so I will wait for 4 weeks and see the new GP and find out more

    The thing that is striking me too is that my fiance and I have been trying for a baby for the last 1.5 years with no luck and now wondering if the deficiency 'if it is' is causing this for us (not impossible), sorry, I am talking out aloud :)

  • do you eat meat?

    or mainly a vegetarian hence that can effect b12 hence food choices and bad digestion can cause it.....are you constipated alot or bloated etc....

  • Hello

    I do eat meat probably 4 times a week if not more however my diet is very unhealthy as I snack all the time and do not really get my 5 a day if I am very honest.

    Well, it is a mixture of both to be honest but when it is loose it is like mushy and fluffy nothing like liquid.

    Thanks for your reply

  • 'Is it anaemia or not'

    I'd echo fbirder's advice and get your serum B12 and folate tested.

    You can have a B12 deficiency / pernicious anaemia (which may or may not explain the electric shocks in your leg) with (or without) having Macrocytic anaemia, and without enough folate, B12 cannot be used by the body.

    Also be a good idea to get your iron tested as low serum iron / serum ferritin can also affect the uptake of vitamin B12 (and also cause iron deficiency anaemia).

    Good luck...and pop back if you need any further help.

  • thanks for your reply now its really freaking me out as the one of the first signs of colon cancer (googled this) is a sudden onset of iron deficiency anaemia.......

  • I had severe iron deficiency anaemia and was sent for an endoscopy and colonoscopy as there were no obvious reasons why and they wanted to know what was causing it. I panicked a bit as I looked on the internet on the causes as I assume you did. The results were clear and apparently they frequently do not find a cause. I am still taking iron tablets 4 months later and doing better.The test would have shown up colon cancer. Why are you so worried about colon cancer? Do you have other symptoms?. If you are iron deficient, they may want to test you. Colon cancer is much less likely than most other things.

  • Thank you for replying, ive had scopes in my throat, stomach, bloods xrays due to throat symptoms in jan to now and all normal now im scared i have colon cancer its so mind wrecking for me

  • Have you had a colonoscopy? I was iron deficient and my B12 was 290. The doc insisted on a colonoscopy because of the low iron level and I was fine. No problems. It might ease your mind.

    I also had bad stomach, intestinal cramping from what the docs said was IBS but could have been from PA which I still need to get tested for.Your situation could be similar to mine.

    Replacing speculation with fact, i.e. A colonoscopy could certainly ease your mind.

    As someone who suffers with anxiety, I totally sympathize with you.

    I'm betting it is not colon cancer! :-)

  • P.S. Just saw your last post about getting a colonoscopy.

  • My other half has been poorly too for the last 3 weeks or so with the same symptoms as me.......

  • No colonoscopy done but I will even go for one privately if they do not want me to have one. I do not think I have an iron deficiency as usually MCV levels would be lowered with this condition and not raised.

    This is such a vicious circle grrrr

  • One thing to keep in mind as far as iron deficiency goes; Iron deficiency does cause a drop in MCV. If you were deficient in both B12 and iron, your MCV result would have come back normal. It is unlikely - not impossible, but very unlikely - that you have iron deficiency given that your MCV was high. It is most likely a folate or B12 deficiency.

    The good news is that both of those deficiencies are treatable. It's really better to find out whether there is an actual deficiency before attempting to find out the cause. Some of us never find out the exact cause of our deficiencies. It can be frustrating, but at least we can still be treated for the deficiency.

  • I totally agree, Galixie! Wise words, indeed.

  • Just been having stomach cramps and bloating for weeks now and too be less descriptive "mushy" poop. .....

    Ive had an endoscopy recently and that was normal.

    Im 35 and a huge health anxiety sufferer

  • Anxiety can cause those symptoms, or could be IBS. Presumably you haven't had any signs of bleeding from the bowel.

    You really need to find out whether you are anaemic, before you do too much more panicking

  • Hi Chris

    No visible bleeding and im on loofe warfarin too so my bleeding is a risk. Im just so scared with all that is going on

  • You need a GP you can trust. Presumably someone is prescribing warfarin, and should be monitoring you and doing appropriate testing. Testing should give you some objective information, though it doesn't always make it as clear as we would like.

    It feels as if you might need some help with your health anxiety. It is obviously impacting on your life and it won't help you with your attempts to get pregnant.

  • You telling me i have no faith with gps!

    My other half has been having toilet trouble and cramping now for the last 3 weeks too with me so im wondering if we have a bug!

    But that aside my anxiety is just through the roof it affects me everyday of my life. Im contemplating going private for a colonoscopy now

  • have you thought about taking a probiotic before bed for ibs symptoms.....it makes a world of difference....taken at bedtime on a empty stomach....

  • Hello again

    I have started eating Live Bio Yogurt now every morning as my 'breakfast' but today I seem a constipated............

    It fluctuates from mushy one day to hard next day to fine the next day........im even confused..... lol

  • MY sister is a pharmacist and she told me i would have to eat a mixing bowl full of yogurt to equal one good probiotic pill hence i use renew life that is time released so it doesnt get killed by stomach acid etc....but i am sure they are others....it works but the yogurt didnt work for me...my son had your issues and i put him on the pills ....and he took for one month and never had another problem and he had severe ibs

  • Hello

    Thank you, I will try and see if I can get them here

  • brenda watson makes renew life...u can probably google her story she had bad ibs like yours....thus it led to her creation of a solution.... god works in mysterious ways...she just sent me a email newsletter which reminded me of her name ...isnt that odd

  • I have just located her products online and shall have a look as I cannot take any herbal meds as it interacts badly with my warfarin

  • Hi again, Kayanne1980,

    If you have IBS- and it does sound like your symptoms are very similiar to what mine were (I'm better now) , your MCV could have risen because with IBS because it is hard for the body to absorb nutrients.

    I had the cramping-really horrible abdominal cramping, bloating, acid reflux, upset stomach, diarrhea, soft stools alternating with constipation- the whole shooting match. Was diagnosed in 2011 with IBS-had a ton of tests. I was really scared like you- I lost 30 lbs very quickly. Too bad I gained it back, lol.

    But it was just IBS- NOT cancer. I started on a good probiotic- yogurt is not enough- I use Nature's Way Primadophalus every night on an empty stomach before I go to bed. I also quit eating wheat products/gluten and this helped immensely!

    In my case, I don't know which came first- the B12deficiency or the IBS which caused the B12d. Pernicious anemia can cause stomach problems. After I started on B12 injections my gastrointestinal tract is even better. I am normal again- no cramping, acid reflux gone for the most part, no bloating and stools are normal.

    I 100% agree with fbirder, Galixie and foggyme to retest your folate and B12 levels. You situation sounds so much like mine!!

    Good luck and let us know what your B12 and folate test results are if you choose to retest. :)

  • Hi again

    Sometimes i think im doing ok and then all of a sudden i get constipated and the really muddy stools and then normal. Its a vicious circle, i have an anxiety for cancer and its never ending.

    But my partner has developed upset stomach now also for the last 3 weeks leading into 4 so maybe its a bug or something we have both caught!

    Im so scared its something like cancer and it has spread....

    I will get my b12 and folate checked by the gp but if he refuses ill do it privately plus im contemplating going for a private ct colonoscopy too

  • I totally get it! IBS is not fun and when I first got it, I thought something was really wrong. But IBS does not cause harm, it's just a pain in the butt, ha ha!

    Seriously, you can Google it and read all about it. Forgot to mention earlier that acupuncture helped me a lot but I know it's not for everyone. If you like acupuncture, it can be very helpful. I also started eating smaller meals more often. The probiotics really helped.

    I think you are so wise to get your b12& folate checked and a colonoscopy just to help you not worry about cancer.

    I've had IBS for over five years now and it is so much better. You will get better too. I had a colonoscopy about 2 years ago and everything was fine. You will be, too! :-)

    I remember how scared I was when I first got IBS, but there are so many things you can do to minimize it.

    Take good care,

    nancy aka ndodge xx

  • Hi Nancy

    Thank you for your email. Both myself and my fiance have the same symptoms from loose to normal to nothing at all poo and stomach cramps that comes and goes.... from more or less the same time.

    We have our own hens at home and consume their eggs so now we are wondering whether we have some kind of parasite from these eggs........ surely we both cannot have colon cancer at the same time??!!

  • That is very odd- yes, perhaps you have picked up some kind of dysentery/germ or something. Probably easily diagnosed and treated. I agree the odds of you both having colon cancer are astronomical! xx

  • Hi again

    My anxiety has swooshed to a level 100 today as my cramps are sore and my mind is going in over drive. Im panicking so much i think its making my stomach worse. I feel like going to emergency as im so dizzy too.

    Im in a state i genuinely am

    Sorry for carrying on

  • I have a friend who was panicking a lot and her doctor gave her anti anxiety meds. Not an antidepressive, anti anxiety. It has helped her a lot.

    I take anti anxiety meds too for my panic disorder and it has been a life saver!

    You might not need them for the long term, just now to calm your system down. I know, I've been there.

    I really think that you need help with the health anxiety issue. It makes your mind go into overdrive. It might be a good idea to go to an emergency facility to get something to stop the panic.

    I'm so sorry you are going through this. Xx

  • Ive asked the dr so many times for meds and he refuses also another reason why im going to go to another surgery.

    Its horrible all the time i think colon cancer all the time, my mind is wrecked and wont stop till i get an xray or scope or something to make me believe.

    Are you in the UK?

  • Hello

    We have both been to the dr and he thinks we have Campylobacter. He says our colons are going ten to the dozen, what does that mean lol

    We have to take a stool sample in to test for bacteria on Monday.

  • Hello Kayanne1980. Campylobacter is the most common form of bacterial infection in the UK...it affects the intestines and can cause the symptoms that you describe.

    When your GP say that your 'colons are going ten to the dozen' I suspect he simply means that they are being very active in their attempts to rid you of the infection (I.e. You have diahorrea etc - the body's normal way to combat infection).

    Campylobacter is most often caught from handling raw meat but can also be picked up if you have travelled abroad.

    Most cases settle down eventually without any treatment but in very severe cases (i.e. If there is blood in the poo or severe dehydration), antibiotic treatment is not needed.

    The fact that you both have symptoms would seem to indicate that it is some kind of infection and your GP is doing the right thing asking for a sample.

    I had a similar infection 12 months ago so know how worrying the symptoms can be. It took several months for me to return to 'normal' (at least normal for me) and everything is okay now.

    Please, please, please stop worrying about colon cancer. As you rightly say, you wouldn't both be struck with it at exactly the same time. But you could both get a bacterial infection at the same time 😀.

    Colon cancer is the most least likely scenario and and rest assured that if your GP even suspected this, you would be having an urgent colonoscopy under the NHS urgent referral scheme (GP's are required to do this and are also are paid extra when they refer, so he wouldn't hold back if he thought this was the case).

    Again, please STOP worrying about colon cancer...stay calm...wait for the results....and trust that all will be well 😀 xx

  • Hi thanks for replying.

    Im annoying myself right now as i dint believe i have some infection as my stomach is not the same as his. Mine is more on the normal side once but then horrible the next and more often durjng the day, both have bloating and cramping but it could a coincidence.

    This anxiety and stress is making me so tired and miserable.

  • Hi again

    Forgot to post back, the stool sample results for both myself and my partner showed normal.....how weird is that???!!!

    Symptoms are still persisting for us both but he seems a little better than me now.......

    I am lost and worried......

  • Really really scared now....I have lost 4lbs in 2 weeks without trying and that is alot...my BM are not right too loose and too frequent...I am scared this is cancer!

  • This really is something you should discuss with your doctor. This forum is not the right place..

    But, being a PA/B12 def forum: loosing weight (4lbs really is not that much) is pretty normal when you have a B12 def so get them tested if that hasn't been done (sorry, too many posts to read back)

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