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Low Iron Levels
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Low Iron Levels

My daughter is 16 and has recently been diagnosed with iron deficiency. Her iron count was 8, and the doctor said it should be around 70. This has been over the course of 9 months, when she stopped eating most meats, especially red meat. She has often been lethargic, unmotivated and her immune system is not working well, making even small cuts scar.  
I have a couple questions:
1. Is her laziness and tiredness related to the low iron?

2. How low is an iron count of 8? And is it dangerous?

3. She sleeps for at least 12 hours a night and is still tired throughout the day, is this related to the iron deficiency?

4. She's now on iron tablets, how long will these take to work?

5. Is the depleted immune system related to lack of iron? And will it get better soon?
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Avatar_n_tn
Oh and also, since being on the iron tablets she's been quite ill, having headaches and just generally feeling lousy. Is this related to the tablets?
Also, she's had depression since around the same time her iron started getting low. Could this be related?
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Avatar_m_tn
All of her symptoms can be from anemia.  Iron pills are highly toxic if not taken in the proper dossage, so if she is doubling up on them they can make her sick.

One of the best ways to prevent anemia or get or iron levle back to a normal range is to buy a cast iron pot or skillet. One of the best meals you can make in cast iron is tomato soup or chili because the tomoatoes will pull a ton of iron from the pan and into the food.

I hope this helps
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you LukeL! So how do we know the right doseage? Do I take her back to the doctor? And will the doctor tell us if it's anaemia?
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you very much! The doctor did prescribe them, but he didn't say how much. The label says 1-4 a day so she's been taking 2. So i'll start her on 1 a day. Thanks again!
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Avatar_m_tn
Anemia is the medical term for low iron levels. Anemia can be do to crash dieting, not eating iron rich foods (You said she stopped eating red meat), and from predisposed genetic conditions. It is also common in females and during growth suprts. It is more common in females due to the loss of blood during mensturation.

If a doctor didn't prescribe the iron pills you should probably stop taking them or only take the reccomended dossage.

If a docotr did prescribe them make sure you follow the guidelines.

The following came off of a website

Take the pills when you eat.
Start to take iron slowly. Try taking one pill a day for three to five days, then two pills a day until you aren't bothered by that amount. Increase the number of pills until you're taking the amount your doctor has recommended.

Increase the fiber in your diet if you have constipation but also increase your water and fluid intake. This is worth trying even though fiber may get in the way of how well your body can absorb iron. You'll still be able to absorb some iron, and it's better than not taking any iron if you need it.

Don't take iron pills at bedtime if they upset your stomach

I hope this helps.  And if I didn't mention it earlier buy a cast iron skillet or pot and prepare meals in their for your daughter. One of the best foods to make in a cast iron pot to treat anemia is tomoato soup or chili.
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Avatar_m_tn
I also think there is more of a problem them simple anemia. Your daughter may be developing an eating disorder or suffering from depression. If you have noticed any changes in your daughters behavior or personality or rapid changes in her weight,  it is important that you point this out to her doctor because the sooner these problems are dealt with the better the outcome is.
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Avatar_m_tn
You probably should but since it is a very good starr that she is getting psychiatriac help.
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Avatar_n_tn
Oh, but I should mention she's seeing a psychiatrist and is doing a whole lot better. Should I still mention this to the doctor?
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Avatar_n_tn
Well she's never had a problem with eating, she says she hates the texture of meat and it makes her feel sick, but apart from that she eats normally. There was a time when her weight dropped but it's normal again. She actually didn't go see the doctor for 9 months or so when she first started noticing symptoms but thought it was just due to the depression. She's only told me this recently. Do you think depression could affect the outcome though?
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't know if you have figured this out by now, but I've heard that drinking milk anytime around taking iron pills will make you sick. Just thought I'd let you know.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was just told by my doctor that I have blood loss anemia and that my iron is at level 8. How dangerous can this be if not treated properly? I also have a hypo-thyroid condition which I take synthroid for. My heart also has 2 valves that are closing a few seconds apart that is causing my heart to beat faster than should be. All this together, how serious can this be?
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63754_tn?1290966980
How is your daughter doing today?  You need iron to make red blood cells.  I've noticed some of this assortment of symptoms in my own grown daughter, especially while she was being medically tracked for birth of her child.  I think the overall issue is that of autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA or IMHA) which exposure to glycol ether type chemicals is said to cause.  I think this is the anemia that gives good numbers to the doctors, but the red blood cells are not being made as they should nor functioning as they should. When, FINALLY, the numbers do indicate this anemia, you are at a serious state.  Ask your doctor/s whether or not  immunoglobulin therapy IVIG would help her autoimmune issues.  (In which good immune cells will neutralize the attacking immune cells)
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Avatar_n_tn
if you feel there is more to it than just low iron level you may want to get her an mri with contrast I had similar symptoms low iron tiredness sleeping up to 18hrs a day at times food just not tasting right when eating, and after years of years and specialist from all over the country they found that I had brain liaisons and a pituitary tumor. This is not common so no one looked for it I wasn't diagnosed for 6yrs instead I was diagnosed with various other illness and disorders with treatments that never really worked.
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