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Anemia and Fatigue
Apr 1, 2002

If someone has Anemia, with the only symptom being fatigue and tiredness, would the fatigue gradually increase a lot throughout the day or would it likely remain the same upon awakening? Dr. Bob, I didn't realize this was an AIDS info site until after I just sent my question about anemia and fatigue. Sorry! I don't have HIV or AIDS and I'm heterosexual, but can you still answer it?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Anemia can be associated with many symptoms, the most common being fatigue, tiredness, or exercise intolerance. Does it increase throughout the day? Well, that depends on how active you are.

Anemia can have a very insidious onset. The anemic person often adjusts his or her lifestyle to cope with the decreased energy levels without even realizing that it's happening. For instance, rather than walk up that 1 flight of stairs, you decide to wait for the elevator. Rather than go for your evening walk or gym workout, you stay home watching Seinfeld reruns on TV. It's often not until someone is diagnosed with anemia and has it treated that they truly realize low fatigued they were.

Luckily, anemia is easy to diagnose. A simple blood test will let you know if this is the cause of your fatigue. The test is called a hemoglobin level. The normal range for men is 14-18 g/dL and for women, 12-16 g/dL. So don't try to diagnose anemia by gauging your fatigue. If you're tired, see your doctor and check your hemoglobin level. If anemia is not the cause of your fatigue, then maybe you are just tired of Seinfeld reruns. Kidding aside, there are many potential causes for fatigue. Your doctor can help you sort this out.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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