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Yesterday morning I was taken to hospital with a nosebleed that wouldnt stop... eventually it did, and I was sent home with a copy of the summary and blood results.

Whilst there they checked my BG and it was 12.4 (I had not eaten anything for hours, but likewise had not had morning meds or insulin)... a little later I was feeling a bit light headed and asked them to check it again, and it had gone up even more, to 13.8 (still had had nothing to eat or drink for ~14 hour by this time). It turns out that my haemoglobin is way too low... 81 on a range of 120-150. Anaemic as heck. No wonder I cant get out my own way! Need iron!

I’ve been anaemic forever, it seems. Haven't been allowed to give blood since 1974, because its always too low. I can’t even take iron tabs because they give me the runs, its going to have to be diet only (spinach! red meat!) and/or iron jabs (which I have had in the past and which feel like a horse has kicked you in the backside).

I have significant air hunger, constantly feeling breathless and needing to go outside for fresher air...and I am exhausted, can’t get out of my own way. Feel like I have run a mile when going 6 steps from bed to bathroom.

Enough of the whingeing... my question is this... can a low Hb actually affect BG levels, or is that just a pie in the sky?
 

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Sorry to see you're back in the hospital, Sue.

I actually wanted to give someone else a shot at answering the question. The answer is (as it is so often with diabetes) that there is a connection.

Anemia is a not-uncommon complication of diabetes -- or having it can entirely be a coincidence. Anemia -- a low level of red blood cells -- can be indicated by a low hematocrit (the percentage of red blood cells in the blood). Since glucose measurement instruments assume a certain percentage of RBCs in blood, people who are anemic often get falsely-high BG readings. One study I saw said the number could be off by 20% (how this plays into how inaccurate the meter may be is another matter still).

Low hemoglobin shows up as low hematocrit, which affects BG readings (though some meters [I would guess the quality of meter they use in a hospital] apparently correct for low hematocrit). Going from a 7 or 8 to a 12 or 13 is far more than a 20% difference, though (even more than 20% + 15% off for the meter). So it may be that there's some other issue afoot. Your description of your energy level almost sounds like what some COVID-19 sufferers have -- have you been checked for COVID-19 or its antibodies?

btw I hear you regarding remediating low iron levels. My wife has chronically low iron counts and the food remedies (leafy greens, red meat) just don't appeal to her in the quantities one must eat them. She rarely receives iron injections, but she's taken iron pills and they don't agree with her system, either. It's tough to manage.
 

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HI Sue, I've been out of pocket a few days. Sorry to hear about your iron levels and issues with supplementing. Did they say anything about your Vitamin B levels being low too? That can be the cause of some forms of anemia. Pernicious (Vitamin B12 and Folate deficiency) Anemia.. There is a lot more info out there on the WWW.

Hope they get it figured out and get you back on your feet feeling sporty again soon. Keep us posted please ma'am.
 
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@itissteve.. I’ve never been checked for covid and probobay wont unless I get symptoms. it takes nearly nothing to set of my nosebleeds (which are the cause of the anaemia), so i dont want them poking a swab up there. Even after 2 bags of packed cells, Hb and Haematocrit are still under normal. Regarding BG, interesting diff between my sensor and the hospital meter (an Optium) 6.2 on the sensor, 10.1 on their meter. meter always reads higher which is to be expected but that was a bit of a shocker for me. So was the hospital “diabetic” diet...
@mbuster... nope, B12 was normal. Its only the haemoglobin, haematocrit, iron and transferrin (whatever that is) that were down.

@both: thanks for your words.. I’m still in a very tentative state, my nose is wanting to bleed again and I am doing all I can not to let it, including not using my CPAP machine (so, naps on the couch in the upright position), no hot showers, food, or drinks for a couple of days. UGH. I’ll cook up some sausages (for the red meat thats in them) and eat them cold later. My next A1c will be closer to 8 than anything else, I suspect.
 

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Sue, understandable that you don't want to involve your nose any more than you absolutely need to. That's quite a difference between your sensor and the hospital's instrumentation. You're still on the Freestyle Libre, right? I wonder if there's more specific information on how the Libre accommodates low red blood cell levels in reporting BG.

Hang in there; I hope there's some clear sailing after this storm.
 

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Sue, understandable that you don't want to involve your nose any more than you absolutely need to. That's quite a difference between your sensor and the hospital's instrumentation. You're still on the Freestyle Libre, right? I wonder if there's more specific information on how the Libre accommodates low red blood cell levels in reporting BG.

Hang in there; I hope there's some clear sailing after this storm.
I always check with the reader which is for the libre, but also takes the same strips as the optium. It can be a little different, the thing with the Libre sensor is that it runs about 20 minutes behind what a blood reading would be... so if its a really unusual reading from the sensor, I do a blood check.

I’m hanging, Steve, and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
 

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@itissteve.. I’ve never been checked for covid and probobay wont unless I get symptoms. it takes nearly nothing to set of my nosebleeds (which are the cause of the anaemia), so i dont want them poking a swab up there. Even after 2 bags of packed cells, Hb and Haematocrit are still under normal. Regarding BG, interesting diff between my sensor and the hospital meter (an Optium) 6.2 on the sensor, 10.1 on their meter. meter always reads higher which is to be expected but that was a bit of a shocker for me. So was the hospital “diabetic” diet...
@mbuster... nope, B12 was normal. Its only the haemoglobin, haematocrit, iron and transferrin (whatever that is) that were down.

@both: thanks for your words.. I’m still in a very tentative state, my nose is wanting to bleed again and I am doing all I can not to let it, including not using my CPAP machine (so, naps on the couch in the upright position), no hot showers, food, or drinks for a couple of days. UGH. I’ll cook up some sausages (for the red meat thats in them) and eat them cold later. My next A1c will be closer to 8 than anything else, I suspect.
Deficiencies of Vitamin K, B9, C, or A can be a cause of nose bleeds too. Hope they get it figured out soon.

I've been tested once for covid because of being around someone who had a positive test for one of the antibodies. I was negative. Turned out his test was a false positive. I didn't like the short swabs, sure wouldn't have liked the ones that does the deep sample. Can't blame you for not wanting to test, I wouldn't want to either.
 
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Deficiencies of Vitamin K, B9, C, or A can be a cause of nose bleeds too.
Gee... I don't think they checked vitamin levels. I’ll have to get onto that. My diet is pretty well balanced, and I take additional vitamins via Berocca ... but I am iron deficient, have been for years... its chronic.

Re covid: I havent been anywhere near anyone with it, and theres none known in this area. We only have 93 active cases state wide, and none of those are anywhere around here.
 

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Re covid: I havent been anywhere near anyone with it, and theres none known in this area. We only have 93 active cases state wide, and none of those are anywhere around here.
What a difference from the United States, which shanked the whole dang thing. :sad2: Another complication with COVID-19 is that so many early symptoms are symptoms of other issues. But anemia is not as life threatening to many as anemia. Sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on what this is; now to treat it....
 

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Of course, the heat we are experiencing currently has not helped at all. Another hospital trip but to one where they have ENT on call (they were so busy in the ED I didnt get to see a doc until well after normal working hours!) but anyway... I now have a referral to the free ENT clinic with a huge waiting time but its something. The ENT registrar said I will definitely be in line for surgery. I just hope that the wait isn't too long. I could bleed out but the time they get round to me. That said, next time I’ll go back to the other hospital where they arent as busy and you get looked after because the staff have time. And they care. I wasnt convinced that caring was part of the deal at the second place. The docs were lovely, the nurses young and insensitive.
 
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