Iron Supplements for Fibromyalgia

Iron Supplements for Fibromyalgia

When I got the results back from my iron blood test a while back, the doctor told me that I was within in normal range, though on the lower end of the spectrum. So do I need iron supplements for my fibromyalgia?

ComponentYour ValueStandard Range
FERRITIN24.7 ng/mL8.0 – 388.0 ng/mL
IRON62 mcg/dL50 – 170 mcg/dL
TRANSFERRIN413.0 mg/dL200.0 – 360.0 mg/dL
T.IRON BINDING CAP615 mcg/dL250 – 400 mcg/dL
% SATURATION10 %15 – 50 %

However, she also said that many of my symptoms, including the crazy burning pain sensations and involuntary flailing of my legs (RLS) seemed to indicate I was deficient. So despite low but normal results, her recommendation was this:

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Sleep Study, Iron Testing, So Long Gabapentin

Sleep Study, Iron Testing, So Long Gabapentin

Getting out of bed is so hard. But I did it—for the second day in a row—and finally got to sit down with my primary care physician today. I’d hoped to write something better today, but the best I can do is keep everyone apprised of the basics:

  • I told my doctor that I had stopped taking Gabapentin and explained the nightmares that were trashing my already-trashy sleep. She made a note on my chart and said, “I’d have stopped taking that too.” She assured me I wasn’t imagining things and that although it was rare, other patients had reported nightmares and night terrors too.
  • At her suggestion, I’m going to try upping the nortriptyline again to 20 mg at bedtime to see if I can get over the slump of daytime sedation it causes. The hope is that my body will adjust. Because I don’t seem to suffer worse side effects, I’m cool with giving it another go. It could help with the fibro pain.
  • Since sleep problems keep coming up, she’s referred me to a sleep doctor. I have to have an initial consult first, but it seems likely that I’ll be completing a sleep study. “You know they torture people by depriving them of sleep, right?” she said. “If nothing else, we need to get you sleeping again or your health will never improve.”
  • Related to the sleep, she ordered tests for my iron levels and a couple of other things. I honestly can’t remember what the other stuff is right now. Since I’ve been struggling with burning, tingling, and crawling sensations in my feet and legs, low iron could be playing a role. We were surprised to look through my records and see that my iron hadn’t been tested yet.

All in all, it was a good visit. Her suggestions fell in step with The Fibro Manual that I’ve been reading. That is, prioritizing sleep, checking out iron levels, ruling out or treating things like restless leg or apnea that could be keeping me from getting the sleep I need.

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