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Fatigued and have tachycardia, low iron stores in the body. Is this sickle cell anemia ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
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I am concerned I may have a type of sickle cell anaemia, I am 40 years old, at 29 I had two detached retinas, at 25 no iron in my body, and for the last years since then I monitor my iron stores as they have dropped as low as 4, my normal is 20. Of concern recently after an infection possible UTI left unchecked in hospital my iron stores doubled to 39 and my iron saturation depleted to 11% (apparently it should be between 21 and 33%). I was given no treatment. I tried visualisation, B vitamins and folic acid and sugar and red meat and miraculously after only two months my iron stores have gone down to 19 and saturation in my blood to 27% - however I feel anything but reassured. I am very fatigued and have trouble with tachcicardia - I've had tachicardia for 10 years but I think it's also medication related. I would appreciate any thoughts you could please give me - I'm trying to educate myself before I see my Dr for which I have to wait a week. Thank you.
Posted Sun, 6 May 2012 in Blood Disorders
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 27 hours later

Sickle cell anemia manifests early in childhood. The presenting symptoms involve pain and anemia. Although in case of Sicklecell trait, the person remains asymptomatic, with Haemoglobin on lesser side than the normal. Anaemia worsens during infections or after vigorous work outs.

If you are sickle celled, you would have manifested the above symptoms multiple times given your vast medical history, your doctor would have easily identified and investigated. Hence I do not think of a possibility of Sickle cell anemia.

You have said that your Iron stores have doubled to 39 and saturation depleted to 11% after an asymptomatic UTI. The Iron stores and saturation levels have returned to normal without any treatment. It is good but to my knowledge the treatment you taken over 2 months have not known to do such miracle.

Let me answer your symptoms, fatigue and tachycardia, they can be explained the following ways given your history:
1) Anemia of any reason ( Iron deficiency, Sickle Cell etc)
2) Medications that you take
3) Nutritional Deficiency ( can correlate with low Iron intake, Folic acid and Vitamin B1)
4) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Fibromyalgia
5) Depression

Two times retinal detachment can give us some clues if you can elaborate what is your Retina specialist opinion.

I would suggest you to get Anemia profile, Hb Electrophorosis done and let me know the result, we will be able to narrow down the causes further.

I will be available for your follow up questions.
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