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Sickle Cell Anemia

Difference Between Iron Deficiency, Anemia And Thalassemia Trait

05/20/2008

Question:

Many in my family have the trait and I am anemic as well. My hemaglobin level has never gone over 10.25 and goes as low as 7 after surgery. How much iron should I take each day? I have never been able to find a doctor to tell me why I have been tired my whole life and I am always cold. Just from what I read perhaps it is my levels and that I am possiblly not taking enough iron. By the way, 10.25 is with iron! How much I took doesn`t matter. What should I take? I admit, I do forget a lot. But I really want to end this once and for all. I am 47 now and starting pre-menstrual menopause and my 2-day periods from the past now last up to 2 weeks. I also have suffered depression since I was a child. I didn`t do anything about it until I was an adult. But I was tired all the time during my childhood as well.

Answer:

It is often difficult to tell the difference between iron deficiency, anemia and thalassemia trait. From the information you have provided, I cannot make a diagnosis either. I recommend that you see your primary care doctor or ask for a referral to see a hematologist to establish a diagnosis and help you out. I wish you well.

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Response by:

Anthony D Villella, MD Anthony D Villella, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University