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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
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fatigue for blody loses
Feb 20, 2003

My gran mother has a very important anemia since she was joung , but now she need tnasfusions, Its posible that she has treatment with PROCRIT. tHANKS

Response from Dr. Frascino


Yes, it is possible, but I am not able to advise you definitively without knowing much more about your grandmother's anemia.

Anemia can be caused by a variety of conditions in people living with HIV (as well as those who are HIV-negative). Nutrients such as iron, vitamin B-12, folic acid, and certain trace nutrients are necessary for red blood cell production. If these nutrients are not present in adequate quantities in the diet, red blood cells are produced at a slower than normal rate, and the ones that are produced do not function optimally. These nutrients can be deficient in the diet due to poor appetite or conditions that make eating uncomfortable, such as thrush, esophagitis, or mouth sores. Even if the diet and food intake is normal, deficiencies can develop due to malabsorption (poor absorption of the nutrients from the intestines.) Treatment of these types of anemia is focused on providing nutrient supplements (for instance, supplemental iron for iron deficiency).

You mention that your grandmother has been anemic since she was young. There are a variety of hereditary conditions that can cause anemia - for instance, sickle cell anemia. In addition, anemia can result from excessive blood loss - for instance, unusually heavy menses or traumatic blood loss.

Anemia may be the consequence of medications (for instance, AZT) or an underlying chronic medical condition (cancer, HIV disease, kidney disease, etc.)

Treatment for anemia should be directed at the cause. Procrit is remarkably effective for HIV-related anemia (anemia of chronic disease or AZT-induced anemia), but may not be beneficial in other types of anemia - for instance, iron deficiency anemia.

Transfusions are usually reserved for severe anemia. Their benefits are transient and there are risks involved in getting a blood transfusion. They certainly have their place in the treatment of life-threatening anemia, but do not specifically treat any underlying cause of anemia.

I would suggest you talk with your grandmother's doctor. Ask specifically what the cause of your grandmother's anemia is. Also, inquire about treatments other than blood transfusions. You can specifically ask if Procrit might be beneficial for her. In clinical trials involving HIV and cancer patients, Procrit dramatically reduced the need for blood transfusions. I hope it will help your granny too.

Dr. Bob

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