Pernicious Anaemia Society
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Low heamoglobin/ferritin and giving blood

I recently had a blood test that came back with low heamoglobin and low ferritin levels which would indicate some sort of iron deficiency. With that being said, I've given blood three times (only twice successfully) in a year and my iron levels were checked in the beginning each time and were good enough to clear me for blood donation.

I also had normal folate levels but very low Vitamin D levels. Will post actual numbers later if it helps!

Does that mean I could my levels could be low but I have no iron deficiency? Many thanks!

5 Replies

three basic causes of iron deficiency would be a) lack of iron in your diet, b) problems absorbing iron from your diet and c) loss of iron through bleeding.

Ferritin is a protein that binds to iron so your body can use it - as such low levels can be indicative of an iron deficiency - but it can also be lowered by other things.

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because most of it is made in your body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. If you are based in the Northern hemisphere then you have probably just spent the last few months spending most of your time inside and when you are out most of your skin has probably been covered to keep warm. Some VitD can come from the diet but generally it isn't the biggest source.

Diagnosing most medical problems really means looking at as many indicators as is possible.

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Aack. Now you've gone and made me wonder what things would cause the body to not produce ferritin in response to iron. My curiosity is going to drive me insane. Could you illuminate me so I don't go wasting all day trying to find the answer myself?


From this article

Only two conditions other than iron deficiency can lower serum ferritin: hypothyroidism and ascorbate deficiency; neither condition is easily confused with iron deficiency anemia ...

Test properties differed for populations of patients with inflammatory, liver or neoplastic disease, but when appropriately interpreted was useful even across this range of patients.

though generally looks as if being low is most likely to be due to iron deficiency - article argues for using serum ferritin as best available test for iron deficiency - the problem is setting the right lower limit as this can be dependent on other conditions which would tend to need higher levels of ferritin than the normal population.


Thank you! :)


Thank you :)


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