|DEAD MAN WALKING
Apr 22, 2002
My fiance' is a 5'10" 256 lb male. He walked into the ER this morning with a blood count of 4.7 and his blood pressure was 185/156. He was white and short of breath. He had a CAT SCAN and everything is normal. They say it might be a bleeding ulcer, but couldn't run a scope until his blood count was close to normal. Could an ulcer bleed so much that he would lose 2/3 of his blood? How big would the hole have to be in order for this to happen?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Wow! Your fiancé's hemoglobin was down to 4.7??? He must have looked like Casper The Friendly Ghost! The shortness of breath is also a classic symptom of anemia. Blood loss from the gastrointestinal track is one of the more common causes of anemia. The "hole" doesn't really have to be very large. Slow blood loss can often go completely unnoticed and result in very significant anemia over time. Sometimes, dark, tarry stools are noted if there is blood loss in the G.I. track.
Your fiancé also has significant hypertension (high blood pressure). This is probably unrelated and also needs to be evaluated and treated promptly. So get your fiancé a good medical tune up, including a complete physical examination by his internist before you head down the aisle to say, "I do!" We want to avoid any and all medical problems that might spoil the honeymoon!
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