Dealing With My Anemia

Patient: Hello, I am a 21 year old female who was diagnosed with anemia on November 15, 2011. Blood test results showed my ferritin level was 7 NG ML, my MCH was 26.1 PG, my MCHC was 31.8 G DL, and my RDW was 17.2 percent. Other results that still made the normal range are as follows: my hemoglobin was 12.4 G DL, my hematocrit was 38.9 percent, and my MCV was 81.9 FL. My doctor told me to take one ferrous sulfate 325 mg pill twice daily. The pill has 65 mg of elemental iron. Since doing so I have not felt much difference. Symptoms I have had or felt over the past month are upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea and constipation, chest pain with either tightness and pressure or burning, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue. In general I am so weak all the time that I feel like I am dying. I find that most of the time when I am still, either standing, sitting, or lying down, and my hands are at my sides I can feel my heart beating in my chest. The tightness and pressure in my chest occurred on November 23 and lasted most of the day which was very frightening. My scariest moments are when I feel short of breath and faint and so weak that I must lie down or I feel like I will pass out or something bad will happen. I lie down and I feel okay in an hour, but I’m scared that one day it will happen and I wont feel better after lying down. How severe does my anemia sound to you? Does the iron supplement dosage my doctor prescribed sound appropriate to you? Which symptoms are related to the anemia and which are side effects related to the iron supplement? Which side effects aren’t related to either? Why did my chest feel tight with pressure on that one day? Why am I aware of my heartbeat why I am still? When I have those moments when I must lie down, why is that? Is my blood pressure dropping? What are specific warning signs I should look out for that signal I should go to the hospital? I have a follow up appointment scheduled with my doctor. What are the most important things I should tell her? How long will it be before I start to feel I am improving? I am a college student and I want to be strong enough to finish out my semester with passing grades so all my hard work from the past three months does not go to waste. I know this is a very long note but please answer my questions. Dealing with this day to day is hard and scary and I need to know there is light at the end of this tunnel. Thank you.