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Health nut has anemia?!
Feb 20, 2003

Hi! A recent blood test showed my hemoglobin level was low(8 for an adult woman). The doctor prescribed iron. My question is: could this low hemoglobin be caused by emotionnal stress? Im a health nut and have a varied diet including whole grains, seeds and everything else. I just dont see why I would be lacking iron. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Health Nut,

A hemoglobin of 8 definitely qualifies for significant anemia. Emotional stress is not a cause of decreased red blood cell production or hemoglobin. Iron deficiency, on the other hand, can be. Your doctor will need to order specific laboratory tests to determine if indeed you are deficient in iron. If you have adequate iron in your diet, perhaps your system isn't absorbing it properly. There are a variety of conditions that can lead to anemia - heavy menstrual cycles, chronic illnesses, etc. Since this is an HIV information website, I'm assuming you are HIV-positive. If so, certain medications or opportunistic infections might be contributing to the problem -- even HIV itself might be the cause. Talk to your doctor, and get more information about your laboratory tests and medications.

Hopefully, he/she will be able to answer your questions. If not, write back (but only if you're HIV-positive, OK?).

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

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