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Q. I have breathing problem with high RBC and low iron. Shall I continue my iron supplement?

Answered by
Dr. Parth R Goswami
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 22, 2020

Hello doctor,

A couple of months ago, I started having weakness and trouble breathing. On getting blood tests done, I had a hemoglobin of 12.9, so I was told it is likely not anemia. I was taking supplements for vitamin B 12 and vitamin D. The symptoms seemed to improve. However, the breathing problem has persisted. In the blood count, MCH is 24.4 and MCHC is 28.7, lower than the normal range. The RBC count is much higher than the range at 5.29. I was asked to get tested for iron deficiency. My iron levels are very low at 36.4 though the TIBC is 374. Transferrin saturation is 9.73 percent and ferritin is at 19. I am taking iron supplements presently, the breathing problem persists. I want to know whether iron supplements will regulate the RBC count and bring it down? Will iron supplements further increase RBC count? Is it a cause for concern. I am taking one Orofer XT tablet daily. Should I increase the dosage? Kindly let me know how to treat this condition. Also, my sugar levels are at 130 fasting and 180 postprandial.

Dr. Parth R Goswami

Hematology Pathology


Welcome to

You can complete the course of Orofer XT (Ferrous ascorbate and Folic acid). Orofer might increase your RBC count slightly. However, do not worry about that. Your RBC count are borderline high for which there is no need for much worry.

MCH (mean corpuscular hemoglobin), MCHC (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration) borderline low due to mild anemia starting. Your iron and transferrin saturation slightly soft suggestive of the early development of anemia.

You can complete the course of Orofer, then no need to take that medicine. So you do not need to worry about iron parameters and RBC (red blood cells) count. You are having diabetes and a high lipoprotein level. So make a lifestyle change and take a low-fat diet.

I suggest you consult a pulmonologist for detailed chest evaluation for breathing problems, and spirometry can be planned if needed. If you are taking excess stress, then a panic attack can cause breathing difficulty.

I hope this helps.

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