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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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I think I might be Anemic but not sure.
Dec 27, 2000

Ever since i was a kid Ive had a sensitivity to cold, cold hands and feet, fatigue, leg pains I guess from poor circulation, hands and arms falling asleep, Im 20yrs. and I still have those symtoms. When I was little I also had a very poor diet I was a very picky eater and my family had to force me to eat also I got sick a lot too when I was little. My question is am I just feeling the repercussions of being sickly as a child and poor diet or could i be anemic? Sincerely, Judy

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Judy,

Anemia is a decrease in the amount of red blood cells, which results in decreased transport of oxygen throughout the body. Consequences of low oxygen include reduced stamina, fatigue, rapid heart rate, malaise, shortness of breath, palpitations, decreased exercise tolerance, headache, dizziness, intolerance to cold, mental confusion and other symptoms. The only way to determine if you are anemic is to have a simple blood test. Chances are you may have already had this test done as part of your routine physical examination. Check with your doctor and ask if you've ever had a test for anemia. If indeed you are anemic, there are multiple potential causes. Some of these may be related to diet -- such as iron or vitamin deficiencies. However there are many other causes such as blood loss through your gastrointestinal tract or bone marrow suppression from certain drugs such as AZT (retrovir, combivir, trizivir). Chronic medical conditions such as cancer or your HIV disease can also cause anemia. First step for you is to check your hemoglobin. The lower limit of normal for women is 12 grams per deciliter.

Hope this clarifies your question. Good luck.

RJF


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