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Dr Basu
Dr Basu, Experienced Specialist
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 29072
Experience:  MD
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My blood work showed low ferritin levels @ 15 with 20-288 normal.

Customer Question

My blood work showed low ferritin levels @ 15 with 20-288 normal. My Hemoglobin and Hemacrit fluctuate between normal and low. This has been going on since I had pneumonia in December 2014. Also since that time my oxygen levels are fine while resting, but drop into the low 80 walking just a few feet so I have had to be on supplemental oxygen since the pneumonia. My Carbon Dioxide levels have increased from 30 to 35. My White blood count is normal. I am 71 yr old white female. In 2010 I did have a section of my lung removed because of a rare type of nasal cancer that dropped to my lung. Since then my Cat Scans are normal. I have been extremely tired and feel fatigued most all of the time. My other blood work is all normal kidneys, liver, pancreas and etc.. Can the low iron levels be the cause of the hypoxia and feeling tired? If so how much iron supplement should I take to correct this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr Basu replied 2 years ago.
Hi there,
This is Dr Basu, Experienced Specialist.
I am here to address your concerns and provide great service.
So far you had all the needed tests done to rule out any GI bleeding or cancer.
You also had CT scans of the lungs.
However drop in oxygen saturation can be caused by the blood clot in the lung blood vessels as well known as pulmonary embolism.
This is only detected by the CT angiogram of the lung blood vessels.
Yes low ferritin level suggests iron deficiency --given the symptoms likely moderate iron deficiency.
This can also cause fatigue and drop in oxygenation with physical exertion.
Ferrous sulfate 325 mg tablet contains about 65 mg elemental iron.
You need about 2 such tablets daily with a glass of orange juice or vitamin C for better absorption.
After 2 months of iron supplementation you should see normalization of your ferritin and hemoglobin levels.
Sometimes, you may need iron trnasfusion if you do not respond well to oral iron supplementation.
But that is a later consideration for now.
Best wishes,
It was my pleasure to help you today.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

They did the CT angiogram and there was no blood clots in my lungs. Also they checked legs and none.

Expert:  Dr Basu replied 2 years ago.
Ok that is reassuring.
Then this is likely iron deficiency related problem.
Probably you should see a hematologist as well.
Meanwhile you can start with iron supplementation.
Best wishes