What does this bloodwork result refer to?
March 30, 2009 11:48 AM   Subscribe

My doctor's office called back with my bloodwork results for anemia and I tried to write down all the information (just for my own curiosity) but I wasn't quite fast enough to get it all. Can someone tell me what part of your blood work a 'normal person has 13-150?'

They told me that hemoglobin was normally 12-16, and that 'something' was normally 13-150, but that I had 4. It wasn't hemocrit, that term I've heard before and they didn't mention it.

posted by Caravantea to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can call your doctor's office back and have them mail you a full copy of your results. Then you'll have everything right in front of you.
posted by chiababe at 11:54 AM on March 30, 2009

It's probably iron, but call them back!
posted by HopperFan at 11:54 AM on March 30, 2009

Best answer: I'd bet it's ferritin.
posted by littlecatfeet at 11:56 AM on March 30, 2009

They can probably fax it right over too if you have a fax machine (or efax): even faster.
posted by zachlipton at 11:56 AM on March 30, 2009

Best answer: I forgot to say (like littlecatfeet mentioned) that it's probably iron as in ferritin.
posted by HopperFan at 12:09 PM on March 30, 2009

Best answer: And here's some reading material on ferritin, so you have some further info, if that's what it is.
posted by HopperFan at 12:11 PM on March 30, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks HopperFan and Littlecatfeet, I think you're right. That's got to be what it is.
posted by Caravantea at 12:19 PM on March 30, 2009

They're right - it must be ferritin. Hemoglobin is the level of oxygen in your blood and ferritin is the actual level of iron in your blood. Most doctors test for anemia by checking your hemoglobin; if it's normal, they say you're not anemic. My hemoglobin was borderline for years - barely normal or just under normal. Finally, a new doctor I went to for an unrelated reason checked hemoglobin AND ferritin. As usual, the hemoglobin was normal (12.2), but my ferritin was 5. No wonder I was feeling so terrible and exhausted.

There's another really important thing to know about this. All the previous times that doctors diagnosed me as anemic based on my hemoglobin being slightly under normal, they had me take iron supplements for 8 weeks, come in to be re-tested, and when the test showed my hemoglobin was back up to 12-point-something, they said I was fine and didn't need to take iron any more. The new doctor, however, explained that by the time a person's blood iron level is low, they have depleted the iron from their bone marrow. Eight weeks of iron supplements will restore the iron blood level only, but will do nothing about the stores in the bone marrow. Therefore, she had me continue to take iron supplements for months longer. She said that her patients feel best when their ferritin level is around 40 to 50.

After a several months on the iron supplements, the side effects were bothering me so much that I didn't know if I could continue. On a forum for kidney dialysis patients (who struggle with anemia, apparently), I learned about some iron supplements from Colorado Biolabs - Proferrin ES. I ordered some and took those for several more months, and I felt there was a huge difference in how quickly my ferritin level increased. I just had it checked again, almost a year after the last time, and my ferritin level was almost 60, even though I haven't take the supplements for more than six months.
posted by onemorething at 7:16 PM on March 30, 2009 [3 favorites]

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