Just moved; new doctor!

  • 2 Replies
Just moved; new doctor!
« on: October 30, 2009, 08:44:15 PM »
Hello everyone, and thank you for this helpful site!
    I'm a 53 year old woman with thalassemia trait.  Never really had any symptoms. We've moved a few times, and every doctor I've gone to has ordered the standard CBC as part of a physical . Results come in that  I'm very anemic, and then they run another test and they diagnose it as thalassemia trait.  That's usually the end of that.  No treatment.
     We moved to Pa., in June.  New doctor.  Nurse called to tell me blood tests showed anemia.  Scheduled me for a 2nd blood test.  Second blood test shows iron levels o.k., but they wanted another CBC in a month to check.  I told her I carried the trait for thalassemia & she said she didn't know anything about that (sigh).  Fine; I go for 3rd blood test this a.m.  Just got the call that I'm very  iron-deficient anemic and they want yet another CBC done.  I asked her if the doctor is seeing the thalassemia trait (he SHOULD be seeing it, right?!)  Again she says she knows nothing about that.
     I will go for the 4th blood test, but will not take iron therapy unless I talk to the doctor first.  I want to add that for many months now I've felt tired,  light-headed, dizzy, and have almost fainted.  I've chalked this up to menopause and all the stress from the move.  Maybe I am anemic, but it disturbs me that I have not heard them say, "Tests show you are anemic, and we also see you carry the trait for thalassemia...etc."  Can a doctor/lab run these tests and NOT see this?!!!!
     Why do you think they're running 4 blood tests with differing outcomes (one says iron ok; the next one - I'm anemic)?
     When I go to see the dr., I do not want to insult anyone's intelligence, but I'm going to have to ask if he's aware of the thalassemia.  Have any of you gone through this many blood tests and no mention of this?  I'm baffled by this and would really like your opinion.  Thank you very much.


Offline Andy Battaglia

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Re: Just moved; new doctor!
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2009, 09:12:58 PM »
Hi Oats,

The CBC cannot possibly tell if you are iron deficient, so what they are doing is making an assumption based on your low hematocrit or hemoglobin level, which does show you to be anemic. However, the anemia of thalassemia minor will not respond to iron supplements. To determine if you are also iron deficienct, a set of tests called iron studies needs to be done. This is what you need to request from your doctor. This will give a much better picture of your iron levels, and if a correction needs to be made, then supplements would be in order. A better approach would be to take folic acid (at least 2 mg daily), B-complex, vitamin D and magnesium, as these all contribute to the production, health and longevity of the red blood cells. It may be up to you to educate your doctor a bit about thal minor. Iron supplements can lead to trouble if you do not need iron so it is more sensible to check the iron levels first before taking iron.

All we are saying is give thals a chance.

Re: Just moved; new doctor!
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2009, 10:20:56 AM »
Thank you very much for your response, Andy. 


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