i had a blood test which showed my iron level was 27
mcv-76.3 mch-24.4 mchc-31.9 rdw-17.7 and tbili-1.7 all of these were marked as abnormal. i am often fatigued which I know could be the iron but I also have joint pain daily and it is often symmetrical with some swelling in my knee joints. I have tried every iron pill I can find but they all make me sick. what could this be indictative of.
First, to explain the blood test results:
Obviously, from these results, you have an iron deficiency type of anemia. Hemoglobin complexes in red blood cells attract and bind oxygen molecules so that blood can carry oxygen to the rest of the cells of the body. Since hemoglobin is made up of iron and you lack iron, you also lack hemoglobin and thus, can't carry enough oxygen to your tissues. This is called anemia, and isn't a disease itself, but usually a symptom of an underlying disease can result in such symptoms as cold intolerance, fatigue, depressed immune function, and brittle nails, pain, among others.
Usually, when your MCV is less than 81, you have what's called "microlytic anemia." When the RDW values are also elevated in microlytic anemias, the main causes are either iron deficiencies (from nutritional, malabsorption, and bleeding problems), or a genetic disease called Thalassemia. There are 4 main groups of causes of anemia.
Further diagnostic tests used in combination with the blood test you've just had, including reticulocyte count, coombs antibody test, serum haptoglobin test, and enzyme deficiency and liver function tests might be helpful to determine the cause of your anemia (and as you can see here: http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/a/anemia/causes.htm, the potential causes are numerous). The best treatment will depend on the cause and nature of what's causing the anemia in the first place and might include iron supplements, vitamin supplements, erythropoetin meds, and antibiotics (if indicated).
Additionally, if iron pills make you sick, try taking over-the-counter "Slow-Fe," which is slow release iron tablets. Because they are slow release, people are able to tolerate them better. If this still does not work, you may need to switch to intramuscular or IV forms of iron, as well as foods that are rich in iron (raisins, meats, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and whole grain bread.
I hope this helps!
B.S. Biology/Psychology - University of Georgia