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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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blood levels
Jun 29, 2002

my hemoglobin,hematocrit,mcv,& mch are low and my rdw & platelets are high-i have been told I am amenic-what what does all this mean-should i be concerned?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

OK here's the scoop. Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow and carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, using an iron-containing protein called hemoglobin. Normal red blood cell production is dependent on many factors, including iron, vitamin B-12, folic acid, and trace minerals. Red blood cell production is under the influence of a natural hormone called erythropoietin, which is produced in the kidneys. It's all a bit confusing, isn't it? Are you with me so far?

Anemia is an abnormally low number of red blood cells or hemoglobin. There are many potential causes for anemia in people with HIV, including:

1. Inadequate vitamin B-12 or folic acid 2. Inadequate erythropoietin production (anemia of chronic disease) 3. Blood loss 4. Opportunistic infections, such as MAC, TB, CMV, parvovirus B-19 5. HIV itself 6. Cancer, such as Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma 7. Medications - AZT, Bactrim, ganciclovir, dapsona, pyrimethamine, interferon, ribavirin, cancer chemotherapy 8. Hereditary conditions

The symptoms of anemia include tiredness, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, paleness, headaches, decreased sex drive, weakness, fatigue, and inability to concentrate.

Should you be concerned? Well, yes. Your doctor should try to determine the underlying cause of your anemia. Anemia becomes more severe as the hemoglobin decreases. The normal range for men is 14-18 g/dL and 12-16 g/dL for women.

Once the cause is determined, specific treatment can be started. For instance, if you are iron or vitamin-deficient, supplements would be helpful. If your anemia was caused by AZT or HIV (anemia of chronic disease), then Procrit should be tried. Procrit is identical to the natural "erythropoietin" your body produces to stimulate the production of new red blood cells. The more red blood cells, the more oxygen that gets carried through your blood stream. Resolution of the anemia also resolves anemia symptoms!

Hope that helps.

Dr. Bob


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Thank your from the bottom of my heart!!

  
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