Iron Infusion – A Burst of Energy ??

Iron Infusion – A Burst of Energy ??

My Gastric Bypass surgery has been a spectacular success…

  • I have lost more than 45Kg (over 62 weeks) – am still losing weight
  • I am now Non-Diabetic – My blood sugar (Hb1ac) levels are normal and I have had no diabetes medications since the day after surgery… in fact pretty much the ONLY “medication” I have had since surgery has been multivitamins
  • My Liver function is perfect
  • Almost all my Blood tests are normal (or better than normal)

Iron Deficiency & Anemia

The ONLY medial issue I have at the moment is low Iron levels (apparently) – which is actually a very common outcome following Bariatric surgery.

I have been taking Iron supplements (daily Maltofer tablets) however, because of the bypass surgery, it is not being properly absorbed.

Iron deficiency occurs when the body doesn’t have enough of the mineral iron. This leads to abnormally low levels of red blood cells (because iron is needed to make hemoglobin – a protein in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen around the body). If your body doesn’t have enough hemoglobin, your tissues and muscles won’t get enough oxygen and be able to work effectively.

Iron deficiency can therefore lead to anemia.

Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency vary depending on the severity of the anemia, how quickly it develops, your age and current state of health. In some cases, people experience no symptoms.

Iron Deficiency Symptoms

Here are some signs and symptoms of iron deficiency, starting with the most common.

  • Unusual Tiredness – Fatigue is one of the most common signs of iron deficiency. This is due to less oxygen reaching body tissues, depriving them of energy.
  • Paleness in general or in specific areas such as the face, lower inner eyelid or nails may be a sign of moderate or severe iron deficiency. This is caused by lower levels of hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color.
  • Shortness of breath is a symptom of iron deficiency, since low hemoglobin levels mean the body isn’t able to transport oxygen to muscles and tissues effectively.
  • Headaches and dizziness could be a sign of iron deficiency. The lack of hemoglobin means not enough oxygen reaches the brain, causing its blood vessels to swell and create pressure.
  • Heart Palpitations – In cases of iron deficiency, the heart has to work extra hard to transport oxygen around the body. This can lead to irregular or fast heartbeats and even heart murmurs, an enlarged heart or heart failure.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome – People with iron-deficiency anemia have a higher chance of experiencing restless leg syndrome. This is a strong urge to move the legs when at rest.

I am not really suffering from any of these symptons (that I am aware of), but my blood analysis, IS showing low iron levels.

Iron Deficiency Causes

Some of the common causes of iron deficiency in adults include:

  • Inadequate dietary intake – there are two types of dietary iron, haem iron (found in animal tissue) and non-haem iron. The body absorbs haem iron much more easily than non-haem iron. There are many reasons why the dietary intake of iron could be inadequate, including a poorly balanced vegetarian diet, chronic fad dieting or limited access to a wide range of fresh foods – for example, as a result of living in remote areas or having a low income.
  • Blood loss – iron deficiency easily occurs in situations of chronic blood loss. Common causes include heavy menstrual periods, regular blood donation, regular nosebleeds, chronic disorders that involve bleeding (such as peptic ulcers, polyps or cancers in the large intestine) and certain medications, particularly aspirin.
  • Increased need – the adolescent growth spurt, pregnancy and breastfeeding are situations when the body requires more iron. If this increased need isn’t met, a deficiency can quickly occur.
  • Exercise – athletes are prone to iron deficiency because regular exercise increases the body’s need for iron in a number of ways. For example, hard training promotes red blood cell production, while iron is lost through sweating.
  • Inability to absorb iron – healthy adults absorb about ten to 15 per cent of dietary iron, but some people’s bodies are unable to absorb or use iron from food.

For me absorption is likely to be the main issue (this is fairly common in Gastric Bypass Surgery)… but the exercise element may also play a part as I am doing quite a lot of gym sessions… (6 or 7 one hour sessions a week at the moment – plus fairly regular 5 or 10km walks)

Iron Deficiency Treatments

The main aim of treatment is to restore hemoglobin levels to normal and replenish iron stores. The most common treatments are to increase dietary intake of Iron rich foods, and Iron supplements

Eat Iron-Rich Foods

If your doctor thinks your iron deficiency may be caused by a lack of iron in your diet, consuming more iron-rich foods, such as the following may help :

  • Red meat, pork and poultry
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale
  • Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
  • Peas, beans and other pulses
  • Seafood
  • Iron-fortified foods
  • Seeds and nuts

Boost Your Iron Absorption

Eating vitamin C will help your body absorb iron better, so eating enough vitamin C-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables can help with absorption.

It may also be beneficial to avoid certain foods that can inhibit iron absorption when eaten in large amounts. These include tea and coffee and foods high in calcium such as dairy products and whole-grain cereals.

Iron Supplements

If increasing iron levels through diet alone is not working, then it may be necessary to take iron supplements – which sometimes may have unpleasant side effects such as stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, heartburn, nausea and black stools. .

Iron Infusion

As I have pretty much tried (and failed at) the above treatments – primarily because the Gastric Bypass operation restricts the absorption of Iron, my next course of action is an Iron Infusion

Iron infusion is a procedure in which iron is delivered to your body intravenously (i.e. into a vein through a needle).

An iron infusion is a way to increase the body’s iron levels quickly. It’s a more immediate treatment than supplements or dietary changes.

Burst of Energy ??

Apparently, Iron Infusion will give me a Burst of Energy… which is pretty hard for me to imagine because I don’t at the moment feel lacking in energy (6 or 7 gym sessions a week doesn’t say “low energy” to me…) but I am very curious to see the outcomes 🙂

Oh Dear… I have Been Dumped !! … Again

Oh Dear… I have Been Dumped !! … Again

Despite being the fittest, healthiest and skinniest I have been for more than 30 years… and in fact, quite probably because of it, I have been dumped multiple times in the last few months !!!

I have had several people, who have played an important part in my life over the last few years, who have decided that our relationship is no longer necessary and that they no longer want to see me on a regular basis !!!

But it is not actually a bad thing… in fact it is a very good thing.. because it is my medical specialists who are “dumping” me in droves…. They have determined that because my health has improved so dramatically over the last 12 months, that there is no longer any reason to see me on a regular basis… and that just an occasional catch up (if that) will do fine.

Endocrinologist

As I have been completely Diabetes medication free for over 12 months (since the day after surgery), and my Blood sugar is well within the “normal” range, my Endocrinologist has declared me “Diabetes Free” and told me not to come back…

Liver Specialist

My Liver specialist says that despite permanent scarring (from Cirrhosis), my Liver is functioning beautifully and my blood data is giving no indication of liver problems at all. She suggests that I touch base in 6 months or so.

Bariatric Surgeon

My Surgeon and Dietician are VERY happy with the outcome of my surgery (62 weeks ago) – and so am I… I weigh nearly 10Kg less than I once thought possible and am still losing weight…. I will catch up with them in another 6 months or so too.

General Practioner

Even my GP is not in any hurry to see me again 🙂

My Gym Trainer/s

The only relationship which I am still fostering is with my trainers at the gym…:) … but even that might be on a downward trend, as I have determined that my Passion for Excercise (NOT an Obsession – I promise) maybe just a little excessive and am considering reducing my 6 or 7 workouts a week (although I am tempted to start swimming as well).

Perhaps I should consider establishing a NEW relationship…. with a Plastic Surgeon…. for an Abdominoplasty – Joking !!! (at the moment) ….

Wow What a Year !!

Wow What a Year !!

12 months exactly since my gastric Bypass Operation – and what a fantastic year I have had…

I have :

  • Lost over 40Kg in weight
  • Stopped all Diabetes Medication
  • Drastically reduced my Blood Sugar and am now officially Diabetes Free
  • Joined a Gym (and am getting a little obsessed with it but am LOVING it)
  • Significantly improved my muscle mass
  • Been “dumped” by my Endocrinologist and Bariatric Surgeon… and even my GP doesn’t really want to know me 🙂
  • Never Felt Better !!!

49 Weeks – Feeling Fantastic

49 Weeks – Feeling Fantastic

Its been a little over 3 months since my last post… but how many times can you say “things are going great” ??

I’ve continued to lose weight and are now just over 90Kg…. That’s a total weight loss of 40Kg or nearly 1/3rd of my original body weight 🙂

Gym Junkie

I’ve continued going to the Gym… and am loving it…. In fact, for a while there I got a little obsessive and was going 8 or 9 times a week, but have scaled that back to just 5 or 6 … which I’ve found is actually more effective and efficient – my gym sessions are now longer and more powerful and my body is recovering better between sessions.

Since joining the gym – 7 months ago – I have lost an additional 10Kg in weight, which is pretty significant given that my muscle mass has also substantially increased.

Blood Results

I did a regular follow up with my nutritionist today… and all my blood tests are fantastic… except for Iron which is a bit low. This is completely normal (and expected) after a Gastric Bypass and I will continue to take Iron supplements (Maltofer) daily along with my multivitamins, although I can now stop taking Calcium supplements.

I am still not taking ANY diabetes (49 weeks since surgery), and my average blood sugar reading (HbA1c as per stats below) is continuing to drop.

Blood Sugar (HbA1c)

HbA1c is a blood test that is used to help diagnose and monitor people with diabetes. It is also sometimes called a haemoglobin A1c, glycated haemoglobin or glycosylated haemoglobin.  It shows the average level blood sugar levels over the past 2 to 3 months.

Target Weight ?

I can expect to continue losing weight for another 6 months or so… although the rate of weight loss will slow down.

I have already lost more than I had hoped for, but at 90Kg and 172cm… my BMI (31) still puts me at borderline Obese…. I am now hoping to lose another 5 or 10kg – with a provisional target weight between 80-85Kg… This would still mean I was considered Overweight…. but at 172cm, the suggested “healthy” weight is considered to be between 54 and 72 Kg… which to me seems absurdly “skinny”.

So far, even though the quantity of food I eat has significantly reduced (I just can’t physically eat anywhere near what I used to), I have to admit that I’ve not been particularly careful about the types of food I eat.

I have decided that once I get below 90Kg (which should be any week now) I will make a conscious effort to make smarter choices about the types of food I eat and this should help me get closer to that 80Kg target 🙂

Diabetes Free at last !!!

Diabetes Free at last !!!

Today I had my final (hopefully ever) trip to my Endocrinologist and have been declared “Diabetes Free” at last …

HbA1c

I have not been taking ANY diabetes medication since my surgery (35 weeks ago), an now (as per my HbA1c stats below) I am finally in the “non-diabetic” range

HbA1c is a blood test that is used to help diagnose and monitor people with diabetes. It is also sometimes called a haemoglobin A1c, glycated haemoglobin or glycosylated haemoglobin.  It shows the average level blood sugar levels over the past 2 to 3 months.

The graph above shows my HbA1c stats for the last 6 years or so – since I was diagnosed with Diabetes.  Soon after I was first diagnosed, I was able to control it pretty well with diet and exercise, but in 2015 it shot up and I started medication.  Over the subsequent years, despite increased medication it was never really well controlled… Since late 2017 it has gradually improved, but this was primarily as a result of increase medication (mainly mutliple daily insulin injections).  However, since my Gastric Bypass operation (35 weeks ago) I have been completely off all diabetes medication… and my blood sugar is finally back to “non-diabetic” levels.

This does not mean that I am “cured” – the underlying problems still exist, and I will need to keep an eye on it in years to come (diabetes has a tendency to worsen naturally with age)… but I am no longer conside4red “diabetic” and will not (as long as I stay diabetes free) be impacted by the many life shortening outcomes caused by diabetes.

In fact… not only is my HbA1c looking good, my cholesterol (which surprisingly was never that high) is down and everything else is looking great… except for slightly low Iron levels… sounds like a great excuse to eat a nice juicy eye fillet to me 🙂

10 Weeks after Surgery – Some Stats

10 Weeks after Surgery – Some Stats

10 weeks since my surgery and time for some Statistics

My weight continues to drop off… it has been a little erratic… losing a little each day for a week or so… putting on a kilo … and then having it drop off again.. but the overall trend is consistently down, and in the 10 weeks since surgery, I have lost  a total of 14KG… and little under 1.5Kg per week is pretty good  right ?:)

More remarkably, I am still completely medication free for my diabetes… my HbA1c Blood results have plummeted since surgery… and I am currently just a smidgeon above the “Non-Diabetic” range.

HbA1c

HbA1c is a blood test that is used to help diagnose and monitor people with diabetes. It is also sometimes called a haemoglobin A1c, glycated haemoglobin or glycosylated haemoglobin.  It shows the average level blood sugar levels over the past 2 to 3 months.

The graph below shows my HbA1c stats for the last 5 years or so – since I was diagnosed with Diabetes.  Soon after I was first diagnosed, I was able to control it pretty well with diet and exercise, but in 2015 it shot up and I started medication.  Over the subsequent years, despite increased medication it was never really well controlled… Since late 2017 it has gradually improved, but this was primarily as a result of increase medication (mainly mutliple daily insulin injections).  However, since my Gastric Bypass operation (just 10 weeks ago).. I have been complelety off all diabetes medication… and my blood sugar is almost back to “non-diabetic” levels.

This was not entirely unexpected (and was the primary aim for the operation)… However the results have been much more dramatic than I had expected.  Loss of weight in itself, is one of the most effective ways to reduce blood sugar… and I had already lost about 10Kg prior to the operation, and had seen a reduction in my medication… However weight loss is obviously a gradual thing , and the “overnight” impact on my blood sugar was a bit of a surprise… and seems to have been been as a direct result of the physiological impact of the Bariatric surgery.

Weigth Loss

The graph below shows (almost) daily weight data since my surgery10 weeks ago :

Unsurprisingly, the rate of weight loss is highest in the first week or two, but since then (apart from a few “hiccups”) has been fairly steady at about 1.5kg per week.  In th4 last 10 weeks I have lost 14Kg :).  The “trend” seems to be that iI lose a small, but steady daily amount (around 300g) for 7-10 days… then I put a Kg or two back on overnight, it rollercoasters for a few days… and then I start the gradual weight loss trend again.  Not sure if this is related to  hyydration… or diet.. or whether it is just a natural pattern.

I have not been down to this weight for about 10 years and I am “swimming” in my current wardrobe, but I am holding off getting any many new clothes until I lose a bit more 🙂

My next “major” goal is 100Kg… I will probably reward myself with some new clothes…and I have told myself that when I reach that I will start back at a gym and start to do more regular (and more “serious”) excercise.