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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
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Oct 13, 2003

Dear, I did a blood test and they told my that my hemoglobin is too low. Doctor suggested that I need to do a blood transfusion but I refused. My question is what other alternatives that I have in order to increase my Hemoglobin? What did you suggest to eat in order to increase my red blood cells? Please help me. I am 59 Years old. Thanks, Mary

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Mary,

This is an HIV information website. Are you HIV-positive? If so, write back with additional information medications, viral load, T-cell counts, etc. so that I can provide you a more complete response. HIV-positive or not, the best treatment for anemia (low hemoglobin) is to identify and treat the underlying cause. For instance, if your anemia is due to blood loss, stop the bleeding. If it's due to nutritional deficiencies (iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, etc.), then supplement your diet to replace these vitamins or minerals. If your anemia is caused by AZT or HIV itself, then Procrit may be your best option. Procrit is a medication that you administer to yourself once per week. It stimulates the production of additional red blood cells. Transfusion can be life saving, but should only be considered when the anemia is severe. Blood transfusions raise hemoglobin levels quickly, but the beneficial results are transient. Blood transfusions also carry specific risks and can be associated with increased immunosuppression. That is the reason we try to avoid them whenever possible in HIV disease.

Dr. Bob

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