A question from new member Bri

Bri asked this question:

"Thanks for the warm welcome. We are so happy to have found this group. Our GP said our daughter's iron levels can be maintained by diet, is this true?"

What do you think?

That is a very general question, but it will not be hard to tell if your GP is right because iron levels are easy to measure. It really depends on what makes her levels drop in the first place...monthly periods? Something else? And how much does her iron drop? Has she not been able to recover but the GP thinks that some diet changes will help? I guess I think it really depends! Pumpkin seeds have a lot of iron... I have ground them in a mini food processor very fine, and then added a half cup to a serving of cream of rice, or cream of wheat, it adds a nice texture and flavor...

I agree with suzee's response. Iron is both a blessing and a curse because the body needs it for hemoglobin but it is poisonous in larger quantities which is why it is poorly absorbed. After a major bleeding incident such as an intestinal bleed, iron tests would be advisable and IV iron infusion might be ordered. After experience with losses due to monthly periods and tests, the doctor should be able to predict whether diet is adequate to maintain reasonable levels of iron in the system. Diet, like what suzee suggests,( don't forget dark green vegetables!), is better than slow iron tablets unless the doctor recommends supplements because the slow iron tablets turn the stool black and interfere with Hemoccult tests for blood in the stool masking an intestinal bleed.

I am a type III with a history of intestinal and stomach bleeds from popped AVMs and have occasional iron panels run. But I have been able to maintain good iron levels with diet and only needed iron infusions after bleeds where my Hgb numbers were down in the single digits. For over a year I have been lucky and my Hgb numbers are running around 15 g/dL or more with good iron levels so diet works. I trust the Doc and verify with info from Mayo Clinic or some other REPUTABLE source. I don't believe the vitamin industry and their hype. A large number of supplements are dangerous to vWD people. Chondroitin and other joint pain relievers are an example. Read all the fine print in the side-effects literature and check the Hemophilia A literature if you are a type III as that is close to the same in body chemistry.

Trust the doc and verify!!!!

John the elder