In your quest to STOP BN SICK, you must ensure you can deliver oxygen to the tissues at all times. The body has very intricate feedback systems to keep the levels of oxygen delivery to each cell in a very specific range. Failure to deliver oxygen via the red blood cells due to anemia is a health deal breaker. If you are anemic you will never improve your health. Period.
There are a number of different types of anemia. The most common are related to insufficient levels of iron or anemias caused by low levels of vitamin B12 and/or folic acid. I feel that iron insufficiency is a big concern and have seen many people needlessly suffer for years due to lower than optimal iron levels. Iron is a double-edged sword. Too much can have serious health consequences, as can too little. The best option is assess your individual biochemistry and see where your levels are at. You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Fortunately there are effective strategies for ruling out anemia.
In some cases you can demonstrate iron deficiency, yet your CBC still shows normal hemoglobin and hematocrit. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are anemic but you can compromise the oxygen delivery capacity in your body. I have seen dozens of patients that had complaints consistent with iron deficiency, yet they were always told things were fine. A test you should have in addition to a standard CBC is a serum ferritin, iron and total iron binding capacity (TIBC) tests. These will reveal much more specific information regarding your current iron status. The nice thing about serum ferritin is that it can also be used to identify excessive inflammation in the body, iron overload diseases or iron deficiency.
There are some symptoms you should be on the look out for when it comes to iron deficiency and anemia.
- Pale complexion
- Sensitive tongue
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Rapid breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Difficulty concentrating
- Ringing in your ears
These are just some of the common symptoms. Optimal ranges for ruling out anemia or iron deficiency include:
- Hematocrit: Males (40-48%) and Females (37-44%)
- Hemoglobin: Males (14-15 g/dl) and Females (13.5-14.5 g/dl)
- Serum iron: 50-100 ug/dl
- Serum ferritin: 40-70
- TIBC: 250-350 ug/dl
These are the optimal ranges for healthy function. Current lab ranges often used are so broad that they are ignored until the problem progresses to such a degree where overt disease and pathology exists. It is a lot easier to look at early biomarker indicators and make changes to your health while the problems are still small and manageable.
If you are manifesting any type of anemia, and your oxygen delivery is compromised, you will not be able to restore health. Check your lab markers, identify where you are currently and if you are anemic then address this first deal breaker as part of the STOP BN SICK protocol.