Iron deficient? Copy of recent blood test resul... - Thyroid UK

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Iron deficient? Copy of recent blood test results need help to know what the results mean

4 weeks ago everything was fine I had no health issues. I had a smear 4 weeks ago that showed I had abnormal cells that needed to be removed with a procedure called a loop procedure to remove the cells. This was a traumatic experience for me working my self up over the results and the procedure I had a biopsy to confirm it was just pre cancer cells. 8 days after the procedure I was having more than normal heavy bleeding and was told to go to A&E were they recautrised the wound on the cervix as it was still bleeding and not healing and then gave me blood clotting tablets they also took a swab for infection. I still bled , I bled for total over 28 days. Finally a few days ago it stopped the bleeding completely. But just over 2 weeks ago I started feeling dizzy / tired / lethargic and had tingling/burning feet hence why I had this blood test and was told by doctor I had iron deficient and neee ferrous fumurate 210mg / 1 tablet to be taken 3 times a day. It appears on the results says serum ferritin is 10 ug/l would this kind of level be causing my dizziness? I also did not get told untill awhile after that I had a infection which it says on the print out of the results of the swab it was a strep milleri infection can cause deep abscesses in association with anaerobes. Gram: pus cells ++ Gram pos cocci ++ Culture A) strep milleri ++ penicillin S amoxicilli S *infected* that's what it says on the print out about my infection I had a swab taken on 16th November! And I only got treated for it on Monday 3rd December So I only today finished a 7 course day antibiotic. So I have no idea if the infection has gone or not

I'm just still feeling lethargic weak and dizzy and overall just feel rubbish

16 Replies

Dear Chlo 1987,

I’m so sorry you feel so ill, it’s not surprising after what you’ve been through. I can’t really comment on your blood tests, as I don’t know enough and struggle with the numbers! but as regards the ferritin at 10 I can say that I when I was diagnosed with Pernicious Anaemia mine was 9 and I always feel ill when it gets low, so you do need some iron. On top of that antibiotics always make me feel low too. If you get the iron question addressed and the infection sorted, I’m sure you’ll begin to feel better soon. I wish you well again soon.

in reply to Kazania

Hi oh really so at 9 you felt ill? And have pernicious anemia? You see my DR said with mine 10 the ferritin level I shouldn't be feeling dizzy! But I have been told from others that you do get symptoms though the range for the blood test was 10-291.00 and I'm at 10 with the amount of blood loss I have had!

Blood pressure

Do you suffer from "white coat syndrome"? In other words is your blood pressure usually normal but it shoots up at the doctors? If you don't know then you should buy yourself a blood pressure monitor for home use because yours is showing rather higher than desirable and you need to know. Get a monitor that uses an upper arm cuff of the right size for you, rather than one that goes on your wrist. Check Amazon for reviews then shop around. Keep records. Omron are a popular make, and doctors use them. You could find yourself being prescribed medication for lowering your blood pressure that is completely unnecessary if the doctor assumes his high reading is normal for you but your true blood pressure is normally much lower.

Full Blood Count (FBC) & Ferritin

Your ferritin (iron stores) is too low for good health, and you should probably supplement.

You aren't yet suffering from "official" anaemia according to your FBC.

The World Health Organization defines anaemia as:[1]

Haemoglobin (Hb) <13 g/dL in men over 15 years old.

Hb <12 g/dL in non-pregnant women over 15 years old.

Hb <12 g/dL in children aged 12-14 years.

Source :

Anaemia is diagnosed by UK doctors as a below range haemoglobin, which doesn't exactly match the above definition. (Please note that 121 g/L - your result - is the same as 12.1 g/dL.) Yours is just about in range at the low end, so you are very close to being officially anaemic, but the problem won't be taken very seriously until you actually are anaemic. Your GP will probably prescribe some iron supplements - possibly ferrous fumarate 210mg or some ferrous sulfate - for a couple of months, but is unlikely to test you again. After a couple of months your ferritin is likely to have risen, but as soon as you stop taking the pills your ferritin may start dropping again.

There are other problems with treating iron deficiency. A low ferritin will normally occur in conjunction with a low or lowish serum iron level - but doctors rarely test both, so you won't know for sure. In the case of low ferritin and low serum iron, supplementing is usually the right thing to do.

There are some people who have high serum iron with a low ferritin. And in that situation there is a risk that supplementing will raise the serum iron even further, possibly quite dramatically, but make little difference to the ferritin level. And in that circumstance it isn't a good idea to supplement at all, without investigating first why this has arisen. The same concerns arise with high ferritin and low serum iron. People need to know why before supplementing, because ferritin could just keep rising without serum iron being changed much at all.

Anyone supplementing iron should do an iron panel first, in my opinion. And in the first 2 - 3 months of supplementing they should re-test the iron panel every 4 - 6 weeks. Once people know how fast they absorb iron, and once they can be sure that none of their levels are shooting up dramatically while other things stay low, then they could reduce the frequency at which they re-test. But supplementing iron is something to be done cautiously, because excessive iron is poisonous, so re-testing is something that should never be ignored.

The best private test for iron deficiency I've come across (in terms of cost and convenience) is this one :

You might find the table on this link to be of interest :

in reply to humanbean

That's very helpful thank you. I will be ordering that test then for the full iron check!... yes I noticed that it was close to the range! 121 g/L I'm just in range so if it has be 118g/L I would of been classed as anaemic?

And yes that what the Doctor did as soon as he saw my ferritin level was 10 ug/l prescribed ferrous fumurate 210mg I take 1 tablet 3 times day, but regards to the iron level serum etc I don't know ? So the iron test from medichecks should test for all that?

I appreciate your help and advice

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to

The iron test from Medichecks tests ferritin, iron, Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC), Transferrin Saturation and high sensitivity CRP.

You can get 10% off the price by quoting the discount code mentioned in this post :

Sometimes medichecks have other, higher, money-off discount codes or special offers, so you should always check if you decide to buy a test.

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to

You wouldn't be classed as anaemic in the UK by most doctors until your haemoglobin was below the reference range. With the reference range you've been given that would mean it had to be below 118 g/L.

in reply to humanbean

Seems so close though doesn't it! Mine being 121 g/l and the lowest in the range is 118g/l ...I had a blood test on the 16th Nov like I said when I went to hospital and it's was 139 g/l (only like 3 weeks ago) seems to be coming down every blood test I have within weeks of each other ... doctor just doing blood test now for b12 and folate , magnesium and calcium x

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to

Doctors don't (or might not be allowed to - I'm not sure) treat lots of things which are within the reference range. I was told by a doctor once that it is unethical to treat for something that was very low in range (I can't remember what it was), even though it was just one point inside the range. This effectively means that doctors are no longer required much - you just need a computer to highlight test results which are out of range and the doctor might treat it if they can be bothered. I didn't believe that it was unethical, I just thought it was a feeble excuse for allowing me to continue to suffer.

I monitor and treat my own iron and associated test results. I did loads of reading on the subject of iron a few years ago. I still don't have good iron results. If I get my ferritin into the middle of the range my serum iron is still well below mid-range. But I feel a whole lot better than I did with ferritin that was just inside the range and serum iron that had been found to be under the range several years before (as I discovered when I bought my own GP records). I take a maintenance dose of iron to keep my ferritin within sight of the middle of the range, and I check it every 6 months or so. But I am one of those people who absorbs iron extremely poorly, so more frequent testing is not really necessary for me. However, until I knew I was so poor at absorbing iron I tested much more frequently.

in reply to humanbean

Yes sounds like it's just all computer isn't it with these ranges. I mean though I got told I would only feel tired with low iron , dr saying dizziness wouldn't occur with that iron level I have ...which made me think so what is it then :( so they are retesting where I had my strep infection and checking the b12 and vitamins etc x

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to

Dizziness with low iron and low haemoglobin would not be unusual at all.

in reply to humanbean

I know that's what I thought haha. Doctor is nice but he seems trying to convince me the dizziness which is what is really bothering me isn't to do with my low iron levels , he even did all the Balance and dizzy tests and doesn't think it's anything like in my Brian to warrant a brain scan so I'm like so what is it then , so then he ordered these b12 and vitamins bloods but i thought b12 deficient was picked up with low haemoglobin but I'm not sure?

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to

MCV is high in vitamin B12 deficiency. MCV is low in iron deficiency. If you have both deficiencies then the MCV might look quite normal. The same issue arises with ferritin - it's low in iron deficiency and high in B12 deficiency.

See this link I gave earlier for the effect of each deficiency on a FBC :

So, if you have deficiencies in both iron and vitamin B12 it might be hard to find out from just a Full Blood Count. You would need to test iron, ferritin and vitamin B12 as well. The Active B12 test is better than the serum test for B12, but I'm not sure if the NHS ever does it. And in order to use your B12 properly you would also need adequate levels of folate.

in reply to humanbean

It says on the blood sheet VB12 so I'm not sure if this is the active b12? Or serum it doesn't give any other details on the blood form... when results come back I'm going to ask for print out again

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to

You can tell which test you had for B12 by the reference range. Active B12 will have a reference range that goes no higher than 180 (ish). Top of the reference range for the serum B12 test could be anything from 600 up to 1100.

Your GP will always say that you don't have anaemia if your haemoglobin is in range. He could well be wrong. But he will never believe it. For modern doctors numbers are everything and symptoms don't matter. Bear in mind they don't understand statistics either, and that is what reference ranges are based on.

in reply to humanbean

I think dr was trying to tell me because my haemoglobin is in range but the iron is low that my dizziness shouldn't be associated with it , it's like I don't have a definite answer with my Gp which is frustrating

in reply to humanbean

My blood pressure has been high this last month since all having the abnormal smear the colcoscopy I think i worked myself so up and then I went through the bleeding and having a re cauterising of the wound ... I did buy myself a home omiron monitoring kit from boots and over last few weeks it's been quite high the highest one I read was 155/107 and I was just in bed , but this last week it's been coming down to like 127/84 and 130/90 etc and when dr has taken it , it's not been like very high. But it's funny because I had a eye test on 23rd nov just a regular eye exam and the optician asked did I have high blood pressure I said not usually but yes I have had some high readings this last month after going through all this stress with my health etc and she said I had a small flame shape hemorrage at the optic disc in my right eye so she referred me back to gp about blood pressure and to the Opthamologist next week

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