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Low ferritin level. Had swelling in foot, ankle & lower leg, swollen lymph node in armpit, sore throat. Are these symptoms caused due to low iron?

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Hi, may I answer your health queries right now ?
Five weeks ago, I had a temporary (about 4 days) of substantial swelling in the foot, ankle and lower leg on the left side. Three weeks ago, I had a swollen lymph node in my left arm pit (which still persists) today and this week, I've had a sore throat (although I can't see whether tonsils are swollen or not). I saw a doctor a couple of weeks after axial lymphadenopathy presented. CBC and metabolic panel didn't show anything - but my ferritin is extremely low (at a level of 8). Should I consult another doctor or could it be that all of these strange symptoms are caused by the low iron?
Posted Sat, 5 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 12 hours later

A single sided temporary swelling of foot, ankle and lower leg lasting just for 4 days, I could think of a local problem rather than a systemic problem like Anemia ( low ferritin ).

The local problem could be infection or inflammation, ulcer and even a prick in the foot. Did you have fever, redness and pain along with the swelling then? If so my above assumptions are favourable. If you had not taken active treatment and since your swelling is subsided your body immune mechanism could have taken care of it.

1) Sorethroat generally involves cervical lymph nodes and not the axillary lymph nodes.

2) Axillary lymphnode has a varied etiology. I am impressed that you have seen a doctor and the blood profile is good. I hope the doctor has confirmed the lump as lymph node and I advice a breast examination for a 54 yr old female.

A follow up mammogram, if needed FNAC of the axillary lymph node is suggested after examination by General Surgeon / Breast physician.

Note you have to closely watch the size of the lymph node and report it to your primary physician.

If you have further queries, please follow up with me here.

Dr. Mazumdar.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Low ferritin level. Had swelling in foot, ankle & lower leg, swollen lymph node in armpit, sore throat. Are these symptoms caused due to low iron? 8 hours later
Re unilateral swelling: no pain, redness or fever; swelling did subside for the most part after sleeping but returned soon after getting up

Re axiallary lymph node - will get breast exam again but never a problem before and I have been getting annual mammograms for last 15 years at least

Sore throat has now diminished - so not tonsilitis; would think maybe sleeping with mouth open except for ear symptoms, etc.

Re blood tests - forgot to mention that blood protein was low but albumin normal (just barely) and have high HDL (80) so would think maybe infection somewhere but again blood count okay (again just barely - but within range)

And last thing - can't remember if I mentioned sudden appearance of blue vein on face (about on level with lips and extending to just under jaw) - this occurred day or so before swelling on leg
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 21 hours later
This advice is based upon history as provided by the patient as there is no Physician – Patient relationship established. The patient has not been examined per se. The advice is not valid for medico-legal purposes.


Thanks for the reply.

Reg the unilateral swelling of leg - No fever, pain and redness rules out inflammation. I would then rule out DVT, venous pooling because of incompetent valves in the veins of that leg, thrombophlebitis. A good vascular examination and if necessary, color doppler. Low protein and anemia causes bilateral swelling of legs, so they are not favourable.

Axillary lymph node - Yet you had done great yet. I am not worried now. Observe the size of the lump.

Sorethroat - Your reply is my answer.

Chronic anemia and low protein go hand in hand.

Hope it helps.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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