Collapsed - Interpret Blood Test Results? - Sickle Cell Society

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Collapsed - Interpret Blood Test Results?

lenovo profile image

I have Raynauds, low stamina (even at my fittest) and get easily breathless - I don't smoke btw ! - passive smoke makes me ill - gives me colds and the like. I've had low Vit D in the past and I'm always slightly underweight, I get dizzy spells and nausea quite easily, and generally have no concentration, the other day I collapsed - I came round quite quickly though and the doc sent me off for blood tests thankfully they came back clear. Someone suggested the blood might not be carrying oxygen around my body efficiently enough so I wondered if having some cells being sickle could be responsible or something else, I know I'm a trait carrier on one parents side, no idea about the other, can someone interpret my blood test / heart test results and tell me what they think please, been googling but no idea what to look for with these symptoms.

15 Replies

You need to take iron tablets.

While your ferritin is within the normal range it's at the bottom. It should be near mid-range. I had the same issue and doctors ignored it. It was only when I spoke to a sports scientist and trichologist did they point this out. In my case low ferritin (iron stores) affected my white cell count. The doctors noticed this but didn't realise the cause. Your red and white cell counts are fine.

The symptoms of fainting, breathlessness, cold, lack of stamina etc and even hair loss are caused by both low ferritin and low haemoglobin.

You need to take approximately 1 iron tablet that those with iron deficiency anaemia take per day e.g. 65mg and you will need to do this for 9 months to a year. Ferritin levels take that time to rise. Then you will need to keep an eye on you ferritin levels.

I haven't checked your other levels but will do at some point.

bluebug profile image
bluebug in reply to bluebug

Your other levels are fine.

You do have an average lower platelet count however one cause of a decreased level is low iron levels - which you have.

So talk to a doctor and if they don't listen, find someone else trained in medical matters. Take iron supplements under their guidance and get retested in 3-6 months. Then again 3-6 months later until your ferritin level is mid-range.

After that you should really be tested every year for a full blood count, vitamin D, iron levels and B12 since you have an issue with them.

I am but my tests are done straight at a lab. When there are issues they are forwarded to my family doctor.

In my case I'm on daily vitamin D and magnesium tablets and my periods are suppressed to stop me being iron deficient (both haemoglobin and ferritin levels). I had to change doctors to get the last issue sorted out.

I should add a friend of my collapsed because her ferritin level was ignored.

lenovo profile image
lenovo in reply to bluebug

Hi bluebug thanks for replying I hadn't considered that my symptoms could be due to anemia, (sorry to hear about your friend btw) so you would suggest taking my results to a doctor and talking about an iron prescription with them. Are my D and B12 levels looking low according to the tests as well?

About your periods, are they quite heavy/long? Nurses/Docs had spoken to me about that being an issue in the past but I didn't want my periods tampered with, have taking supplements made a difference for you? I bought Wassen Wassen Magnesium OK Tablets before but never finished taking them.

Your B12 levels are fine.

If you were vitamin D deficient you should be supplementing anyway with 1000-2000 IU daily with a fatty meal e.g. lunch or dinner. You buy them over the counter from a pharmacy (not Boots) or a health food shop. Boots don't sell ones which are just vitamin D. You don't need extra calcium or magnesium as your levels were fine.

In regards to your iron levels, you can buy iron tablets from a pharmacist. They are about £4. You only need to take one a day, instead of 3 like if you have haemoglobin iron deficient anaemia. If you take 2-3 you will end up with stomach problems. The doctor or someone else needs to monitor you. Unfortunately some doctors don't understand about ferritin levels so you may end up in a fight. So choose a female doctor or nurse practitioner to increase your chances of success.

I was put on the mini-pill so I don't have periods. It doesn't work for all women. Last time I was on a different brand it made all my periods heavy and longer lasting. My periods vary in nature e.g sometimes long, sometimes heavy, sometimes short, sometimes light.

Forgot to add there is some info about non-anaemic iron deficiency under the professional section of

Thanks for all your info, I I've saved the information I found on the patient website, I'm going to go to the pharmacist for the iron and talk to the doctor and see if it makes any difference.

I have passed out once in my life, but never knew what it was from. I can attest however, to sickle cell trait perhaps causing some of the problems. I am going to assume you work out, if so depending on what you do (anything that over exerts you), definitely van contribute to it. I know smoke makes me feel kind of weird; most people with SCT (sickle cell trait) have respiratory problems. Being Vitamin D deficient definitely causes nausea and dizziness. I've had Vitamin D deficiency for almost a year now. Also, my parents and I were told when I was younger, that I wouldn't be able to run marathons, go to certain elevations (guess I can kiss a trip to China good-bye right?) and fly in certain aircrafts. Thankfully, (sorta) I don't do any of those. I'm not any sort of medical professional, so I dont/ can't read readings unfortunately. However, if you have accelerated heart rate, even when doing nothing, its possible its Vitamin D deficiency related. Sorry about the long rambling. Perhaps a geneticist could be way more helpful than I. Mostly because they know things, I unfortunately don't :'( Good luck and hope you find out what you need too :)

BTW, I currently take a high dosage of vitamin d. Totally worth it I suppose. I should also be taking iron, but that's another story.

I've been told generally that sickle cell trait has no symptoms so it's interesting to hear someone told something different, I've flown in a plane, walked in the mountains and am usually sprinting for the bus, saying that I've been sick every time I've traveled and feel like I'm drowning after even a little exertion but the last might just be my fitness level. I didn't know about the respiratory thing, that's interesting is that something you read or from meeting people with the trait? I have worked out in the past but don't now. I don't know if I have Vitamin D deficiency anymore but I've made an appointment as advised about my ferritin/iron levels, if that get's checked maybe I can flag other possible deficiencies. And no worries about not being a professional, your comment was interesting, thanks for commenting.

erica14 profile image
erica14 in reply to lenovo

Definitely glad that I can help :). I would suggest swimming (if you're a swimmer of course), but I literally just read that cold water (well, cold in general) can trigger sickle cell pain. I would assume that since we sickle cell trait carriers may have similar symptoms, that would go for us as well. I know whenever I get cold, everything hurts. My skin even hurts. My fiancé tries to hug me to make it better, but in that moment, I can't take hugging. I notice its when I start to get cold that I feel extreme pain. If a doctor were to ask for a number, it would be waaaay off the charts! I was told when I was somewhere in my single digits of age that flying in certain aircraft, high altitudes and running or exertion would be extremely bad. I read an article about a football player that actually died from over exertion. And doctors say there are no symptoms/side effects/problems with SCT. Sure, I'll believe it. There isn't much information online pertaining to only SCT. I know there is a sickle cell foundation thing, who research sickle cell specifically. Not entirely sure of any that research sickle cell trait. Perhaps I should look into it and see if there are any studies available for it. If I find any, and if anyone is interested, I'll post the links. Also, if I find any helpful information on SCT, I will definitely post the links for them.

I hope everyone is having a good day. If not, I'm always here to listen :)

Sorry, I tend to ramble lol

Oh, I never answered the respiratory question (sorry about that, me and my rambling), I read on different forums that lots of people have respiratory problems (asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, etc). I have had bronchitis and pneumonia. And on top of that, ai have horrible allergies. Dust nearly kills me. Imagine me having to clean after not cleaning in a week or two (Yikes!). I will try to find some information on that though.

Have an awesome day/weekend! :)

erica14 profile image
erica14 in reply to erica14

To specify about the football player, he had SCT, and that was the cause of death. I'm not sure if he knew he had it or not, but it was a bit confusing at first. I read it and I thought "So, if that happened to him, then whose to say other problems or complications aren't associated with SCT?" Oddly enough SCT has a higher death rate than SC, doctors are so confused with their information they are learning. I wonder where they get their information from...?

It is possible that you are not carrying enough oxygen. Have a blood test to make sure.

bluebug profile image
bluebug in reply to Cynt-ann53

See my longer post below.

Red blood cells carry oxygen in your bood. Haemoglobin is the protein that carries oxygen and needs iron to do this. Ferritin are proteins that store iron, which haemoglobin can use as required.

(This is a basic explanation if you want a more expansive one get a physiology text book.)

So in reality a lack of oxygen in the blood in this case is simply having either a low haemoglobin and/or a low ferritin level. In the case of someone with SCT or any condition of the red blood cells they may feel the effects of low iron levels at a higher level than those without.

I have been reading into SCT and death since you mentioned it erica and I'm surprised at how many cases there are, I don't think doctors are misinformed, I just think SCT is too prevalent and costly to follow up, of course if up to half of your blood cells don't work properly you're going to be affected I imagine.

Hi cynt-ann53 that's what has been suggested before.

Well I went to the doc but he said so long as it's within the border it's fine, and just to eat more natural sources of iron.

Sorry I just come back to this thread.

I run full marathons and half marathons. I ran my third full marathon this year. Sickle Cell trait doesn't stop you doing this. What it does stop you doing is any exercise at high altitude and in pressurised environments so diving and mountain climbing are out. In addition you need to ensure you don't get dehydrated doing any exercise or in life in general otherwise you can trigger a crisis. So you need to be very careful exercising in hot environments.

In regards to the OP ferritin levels I'm not surprised the GP said that. The male GP I saw said that, on the other hand the female one I saw looked at the literature. In my case I had a reduced white cell count as well. Looking through the university research papers you can find online I discovered low iron levels are linked to reduced white cell count and platelet count abnormalities. The OP has a platelet count abnormality.

Also low ferritin levels give you the same symptoms as having low haemoglobin, which is not surprising if you know what ferritin is. Ferritin levels are basically an indicator of your iron stores. So having a low ferritin level or borderline low one is a precursor to iron deficiency anaemia. The symptoms of breathlessness, lack of stamina etc indicate you don't have enough iron. (I was told this by 2 other health professionals.)

In regards to vitamin D deficiency, I have had that plus 5 of my friends' and acquaintances. The main symptoms were muscle, joint and bone pain.

However this is where there is a cross over as both can cause dizziness, exhausation, hair loss and lack of stamina.

If you have any blood disorder it is important that you ensure all your vitamin and mineral levels are kept at decent range. So by your GP saying that your borderline level is fine he is ignoring the fact you have a disorder of the red blood cells e.g. under certain conditions have reduced haemoglobin carrying capacity. This is because we are in a Western country were there is not a lot of research on SCD let alone SCT.

I have resorted to paying for and having private blood tests because I'm fed up of having to fight with GPs to take my symptoms seriously. Since I've changed practices and turned up with the tests indicating there is or isn't a problem as appropriate, a couple of the female GPs have decided to help me stay healthy.

I should add I can only do the runs if my iron levels etc have been in a stable level for at least 6 months. So there was a 8 year gap between me doing my latest marathons and a 6 year one in doing half marathons.

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