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Friday, February 08, 2008

Iron-Poor Blood

I thought it was winter malaise. But when I went to donate blood last week, I was rejected for not having enough red cells. Actually, the correct terminology is deferred, since if the situation changes, I can try again.)
Specifically, my blood count would have been acceptable if I had had a hemoglobin at or above 12.5 g/dL, and mine was 12.3. They used to use this solution to see if my blood would sink, and then more recently some sort of centrifuge to make sure I had a hematocrit at or above 38%, which I always did.

Still, the nice Red Cross lady, my neighbor Shirley, gave me juice and cookies anyway. Then I went to the barber shop and then home to bed.

This is slightly peculiar to me, for this is the first time in over 10 years that I've been deferred for this reason, during which I've probably donated 50 of my 120 times.

Here's something I didn't know: generally speaking, they test a man's blood pressure first then test the iron content. For women, it's the other way around. It's because men tend to have more high blood pressure referrals (over 180/100) than women, and women tend towards anemia more than men. Naturally, being a contrarian, my BP was 116/74.

My plot now is to consume lots of liver and spinach. Here's a list. I see haggis is on the roster; I think I'll pass. I'll stick with lean red meats, seafood, beans, iron-fortified whole grains, and greens (naturally). I'm fascinated by the fact that the can of apricots I have shows no appreciable iron noted on the label, yet dried fruits, such as raisins, prunes, dates and, yes, apricots, are on the list.

Do they still make Geritol?



Alan David Doane said...

My wife's been dealing with anemia and her doctor told her to take an over (actually BEHIND, but non-prescription) the counter iron supplement called Slow FE.

Maybe you could ask your doctor or pharmacist if that would help?

Good luck with it, in any case, Roger. It's always some damned thing, isn't it?

Diane said...

I was diagnosed with anemia earlier this year. My doctor recommended an iron supplement and my surgeon (chief of surgery at Yale) said "Have a steak." Well, both worked and my iron levels were back up within a couple months. (and you'll notice immediately on the other end ;-) You probably won't have to continue after the levels are up unless you have underlying issues. Good luck! Oh and baked potatoes are a good source also.

BTW- Can't wait for your Movie!