I have always known that I have thalassemia minor (it was clarified as an adult as Beta Thalassemia Trait), my mother also has it, so I was tested at a young age. I've always had a problem with exercise. My mom always told me that it's just what happens to us, and that we have to "work" up to aerobic exercise. Luckily, I have a fast metabolism, so I didn't need to exercise; as I have gotten older I learned it's not just about being a shape, but being IN shape.

My mother and I both experience exercise intolerance and had some complications during some of our pregnancies. She nearly needed a blood transfusion. For myself, I have had two pregnancies. My first was completely normal, no thalassemia related issues, my levels were 9-Iron I think. I did add an iron supplement, my doctors always wanted me on iron; especially when I was menstruating. My mother told me to take iron glucanate, as it's easier to absorb and is gentler on the stomach. My second pregnancy I did need to get seen by a hematologist and needed an iron transfusion as my iron levels got below 7. Interestingly enough, my daughter also has thalassemia minor.

I have always ignored my blood condition. But, now that I am actively working out, I am finding that it needs my attention. Although my muscles can do the aerobics, my blood is telling me NO! I am near passing out, getting migraines, and generally weak. I knew from my mother that I just needed to take it slow, that it took longer for my body to get accustom to the exercise. 8 weeks in to the new exercise routine, I wanted to know when my body would catch up. Reading the stories here I was reminded that I needed to take folic acid and b12; and perhaps IP6.

I am fairly confident that the migraines are caused by the body trying to get more oxygen flow to the brain by dilating, which of course causes the headache. I suffered from migraines since I was 12 to the age of 14, and then intermittently till my 20s. I didn't connect it then, but those were the years where I had PE the most. My migraines got so bad that I would have to go to the ER each time.

A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis). I read a small blurb on a website, that having thalassemia put you at an increased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Which makes sense, because if your red blood cells can't carry as much oxygen, or iron, it can't carry a lot of calcium either.

I wish that more doctors would put more research into all types of thalassemia, so we wouldn't have to rely so much on the internet, where it can be hard to separate fact from fiction and we wouldn't suffer through so many of our "asymptomatic" symptoms!
BirdysKnits BirdysKnits
36-40, F
1 Response May 27, 2014

Thanks for your story. Have you tried taking the supplements and if so, how are they working for you?