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Question:

Iron deficiency anemia after gastric bypass

Dear Ask The Doctor:
My Hemoglobin is 10.5, Ferritin is 3, Iron 32 and Iron Saturation at 7. How dangerous is this and would an iron transfusion be the best treatment? I had gastric by-pass in 2007, but my iron levels have just started really decreasing over the last year.


Answer:

I do understand your concern for iron deficiency anemia. Certainly the results do indicate that you have iron deficiency anemia most probably due to decreased absorption of iron after gastric bypass. Serious life threatening complication of iron deficiency anemia are rare. Early manifestation of the disease is fatigue, increased tiredness and shortness of breath. As the anemia progress, it may be even sever enough to cause cardiac complications. The goal in treatment of anemia would be to identify the cause of anemia and correct it. Sometimes it dietary supplementation and oral iron may not be sufficient to correct anemia (as in your case due to malabsorption that often occurs after bariatric or gastric bypass procedures), therefore you may enquire with your doctor about the use of iron injectables for the treatment of anemia. I wish you well, take care.


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