Why is Anemia Misdiagnosed?


 

blood

During a routine physical when I was 14 or 15, a doctor asked about my health in general.  I told him that in general, I was tired most of the time.  He asked me a few other questions and came to the conclusion that I must have a thyroid problem.  Labs were drawn.  A few days later, my mom got a phone call with the results.  My thyroid tests were normal, but my iron was low.

My mom was not surprised by this finding as she too experienced anemia due to heavy menstrual cycles.  A course of iron pills were recommended.  A few months later, my labs were redrawn and my iron was again in the normal range.  My iron levels hovered in the lower end of the normal range, but the doctor ignored this as many teenage girls have both low iron and irregular cycles due to more active lives and less than healthy diets.

Over the years, my iron levels fluctuated. Several doctors tested my thyroid function even though I continued to explain this was not the problem.  Doctors even checked for diabetes, put me through a series of heart tests, sent me to a pulmonary sleep specialist, and generally down played the chronic iron deficiency.

Repeatedly I shared my concerns with several of my doctors about my thinning hair, brittle finger nails, and uncontrollable blood pressure.  Still doctors persisted in testing my thyroid function.  I can understand the confusion once or twice, but when you add in the fact that I also have GI difficulties that cause bleeding, heavy cycles which cause bleeding, and Rheumatoid Arthritis which affects iron stores; it seems logical that anemia is the sensible diagnosis.

According to uptodate.com, symptoms of anemia include:

*weakness

*headache

*irritability

*fatigue

*exercise intolerance.

“However, many patients are asymptomatic and may recognize that they had fatigue, weakness, exercise intolerance, pagophagia (ice craving, a form of pica), or restless legs syndrome only after successful treatment with iron.”

This is strictly my opinion.  I believe anemia is misdiagnosed because it is a simple diagnosis.  Also, doctors prescribe iron pills which are harsh on the stomach and digestive tract.  Patients find it difficult to continue taking iron pills and usually stop.  Rather than the doctor following up with the patient and giving other treatment options, doctors search for other causes or simply ignore it.

It has taken 20 years (ok, stop doing the mental math to calculate my age) for a doctor to offer another treatment option.  20 YEARS!!  Does anyone else think this is a tad bit ridonkulous?  I was completely unaware that there were any other treatment options for low iron other than iron pills.

I would like to share my experience with you and hopefully help a few people find a solution to your struggle with anemia.

Chronically Ill Patients Get Accused of All Sorts


 

fatigue

About 5 or 6 years ago, I suddenly began having episodes of extreme weakness. I often woke up, ate breakfast, took my morning regimen of meds, and headed for the shower. I suddenly felt dizzy. My arms felt like lead when I raised them above my head to shampoo my hair. My legs felt like they would collapse beneath me. I barely made it to the bed before the black spots in my vision and the racing heart beat won. I lay there with my eyes closed trying to figure out what was wrong.

This series of events happened to me sporadically over a month. It sometimes took a few minutes to recover. Other times, it took an hour to recover.

I explained these symptoms to my family practice doctor who once again tested me for diabetes. There is a very strong family history of diabetes in our family. I can understand her concern. However, I tried to explain to her that I ate breakfast, I did not have the urgency to use the bathroom, or the need to drink fluids. Each time my A1C was tested, my blood sugar was perfect. . . almost amazingly so.

One particular day, I awoke with the dizziness, weakness, and racing heat beat. It quickly passed. It was a Saturday and my husband came home earlier than expected from work. I wanted to go to the mall.

We took the wheelchair just in case I had another episode. Sure enough, I did. As we placed the wheelchair back in the truck as we prepared to leave the mall, I suddenly felt faint. I held onto the bed of the truck for support then found a brick wall on which to sit until we were ready to leave.

I still felt dizzy and weak which made me increasingly uncomfortable. I began calling my doctor’s offices even though I knew I would get the on call doctor.

The only doctor I could reach was my sleep specialist. She had no idea what it could be, but she was so concerned she told me to immediately go to the closest ER and even gave me her personal cell phone number! If the ER doctor needed to talk to her, she was more than happy to add her input. It was the ONLY time a doctor has ever given me their personal phone number, but she did it because she was that concerned.

I arrived at the ER which was seemingly quiet. I told the staff what was going on and what my doctor said. They seemed unphased. At one point, I became so weak that I doubled over unable to sit up. I began crying out of panic and frustration. My husband went back up to the admin desk and a security guard came over to him and asked what the problem was. He was treated like we were doing something wrong. My husband was asked to sit back down and was told I was most likely faking it.  I was only moved when the women sitting next to me complained to the front desk that I looked completely pale and they thought I was about to pass out.

The intake nurse told me to sit up and act my age because he didn’t deal with babies or fakers. It was at that point I handed him my doctor’s personal phone number and told him if he did not believe me, he could call my doctor directly. He refused to do so. He then accused me of seeking pain meds when I said I have fibromyalgia. This just made me more frustrated and I cried even more.

About 45 minutes later, I was finally moved to an exam room. The doctor came into the room to examine me and it was obvious that he was already coached by the intake nurse.

Before I could begin to explain myself, he too accused me of seeking pain meds. My husband and I looked at each other in complete shock. “As I told the nurse, I am here because I am experiencing intermittent episodes of dizziness, weakness, and fatigue. The nurse got it in his head that I wanted pain meds when he asked about my medical conditions. If you look on the list you will see I also have chronic sinus problems as well as fibromyalgia. Using his logic, that would mean I am also here for allergy shots,” I replied to the allegations.

The doctor responded, “That nurse is one of our very best nurses. He often gets compliments from patients. Are you accusing him of something?”

“Will you just please forget the pain meds? I am the one being accused of something. I came here with a list of symptoms. Look at my chart. Here is my doctor’s phone number. She is very concerned and recommended that I go to the ER. She made it clear that any ER doctor is welcome to call her.”

The doctor then began arguing with me about the need for calling my doctor. He barely asked me any questions. He barely wrote anything down. He accused me of needing a psyche eval to which I asked him why my SED Rate, ANA, C-Reactive Protein, etc. .   .  were constantly elevated if it was all in my head. He responded by saying he didn’t have all the answers. I quickly cut him off by telling him to not arrogantly act like it then and just do his job.

To get back at me, he ignored me completely for 2 hours. The nurse did not even come into check on me. Remember, by this point I had searched for answers for several years and suddenly I was being accused of being a pill popper. I lost it. I completely broke down crying for nearly the entire time the doctor and nurse were gone. In my mind, I only remember it being 5 minutes. My husband told me I cried for nearly 2 hours while he walked the hall in front of my room. He asked the nurse to give me something just to calm me down. He never saw me like this. No one came to help until the doctor returned with the labs.

To further spite me, the doctor ran more than 125 tests checking for the most bazaar things to prove to me that I was just a head case.

That was a Saturday. Tuesday, I had an appointment with my sleep specialist. The first thing she asked me was, “Why didn’t anyone call me?” I explained what happened and she was livid. I had a copy of my tests because I wanted to know if the tests were even remotely associated to the symptoms I told the doctor I experienced. Let’s just say my doctor was no longer livid. She was wrathful.

First, most of the tests had no connection to my symptoms. Secondly, a doctor should not abuse a patient’s insurance to prove a point. Thirdly, of all the tests the man ran, he never tested my iron levels (both blood iron and the stored iron). It was such a simple thing to over look.

Sure enough, my iron levels were so low that my doctor told me had she been my ER doctor that Saturday, she would have admitted me to the hospital for immediate IV treatment.

Thankfully, she contacted the ER and made a complaint against the doctor.  She also contacted my insurance company and told them not to pay for most of the charges.

This is just one example of ridiculous situations I have experienced over the last few years. I brought it up because it highlights a principle, “The easiest solution is often the solution.” In other words, doctors often disregard something so simple as low iron and instead look for the least likely possibility.

Over the next week or two, I would like to share with you, my readers, my experience over the years with anemia and the IV infusion treatments I am now getting from a hematologist.

www.etsy.com/shop/NattyMatty by Matejka


NattyMatty

Art Deco Treasure – Hidden Away For Over 70 Years!
Fairytales, Vehicles, People, Life and Landscape.

 

fairytales

Fairy Tale Castle 1920’s Print

“Imagine the delight of finding a treasure trove of art you never knew existed?”

“No one from my generation of my family had any idea that my paternal grandparents, Margaret Noble and Douglas Maxfield, had been such talented artists, so it was a real surprise to find rolled up, stacked and stuffed into an attic cupboard of a cottage in Wales a feast of gems from the Art Deco period that had been hidden away for over seventy years… (Article published in bestofbritishmag.co.uk in July 2007, written by their granddaughter.)”

standardnine

Standard Nine Car Print

“What you can find in my shop are reproduction prints of an original paintings made in 1920’s and 1930’s by my husband’s grandparents. They are one of a kind and you can find them only at Natty Matty’s.”

Matty’s word’s speak for themselves.  Her shop is filled with truly unique pieces which transport you back to the decadent time of the 1920’s.  The children’s prints would bring a special touch to a child’s bedroom to animate their dreams as they drift off to sleep or remind you of childhood daydreams.

jackandthebeanstalk

Jack and the Bean Stalk

I hope you will also stop by the other shops which I have recently featured as well as MY SHOP, www.etsy.com/shop/JuliesSugarSoaps:

TheYarnOverProject

MyRedBalloonBouquet

DieselBoutique

PrettyFeltThings

JosieDanielleDesigns

Psadorn

YoMo Essentials

It’s a Real Hitt

Store Ustav

Highway22

A Little Bead of Me

All Sylvia’s Creations

Twenty3Design

AgainstTheGrainNC

WhimsicalMimsys

PrettyByrdDesigns

BourbonBallVintage

Sunny Beads by the Sea

Pebble Creek Designs

www.etsy.com/shop/theyarnoverproject by Jennifer


 

barbieclothes

Knit Barbie Clothes

I am finally able to get caught up with the last two shop features that I would like to share with you for this season’s shopping.  Today’s shop is the  www.etsy.com/shop/theyarnoverproject by Jennifer.  Jennifer is located in Truro, Canada.  Jennifer has a 5 star rating and offers a variety of items.

One of her best selling type of products are her Barbie and doll clothes.  She makes several different styles knit dresses and you can choose from a variety of colors.  Fashion doll accessories are often pricey, but Jennifer’s products are reasonably priced. Jennifer also accepts custom orders.

pandababyhat

Jennifer shares this on her profile page, “The Yarn Over Project was established in 2013 through a love of knitting. All of my products are handmade in a smoke free, yet pet friendly, environment. Each piece is made by me, a perfectionist to my very core, and thus I strive to make each item as perfect as possible. I love designing new items and showcase them here in my Etsy shop, as well as on Facebook and Pinterest. “

Other items include hats, scarves, and gloves for babies and adults.  One of my favorite items is this panda bear hat for babies.

vintagepattern

Jennifer also offers a variety of patterns for Barbie fashion and wearable fashion.  She also has a section for vintage patterns.

Black Friday at www.etsy.com/shop/JuliesSugarSoaps


 

yule log-6

Yule Log Soap

Stop by my shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/JuliesSugarSoaps Thursday night for BLACK FRIDAY sales.

Peppermint-Bark-03

Peppermint Bark Soap with Apothecary Jar

 

A coupon code will be posted for Buy One, Get One Free for items in my “Christmas & Gifts” section of my shop. It will start at 6pm (eastern standard time) on Thanksgiving, November 27th, 2014 and run through midnight on Monday, December 1st, 2014 (eastern standard time).

 

Coal-5

 

Lump Of Coal Soap

No need to leave your home or stand in line to get great deals for Christmas gifts. I even refund shipping overages at the time of shipping so you can be sure you will always get the very best rate.

 

grapefruitbasket1

Pink Grapefruit Spa Gift Basket