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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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Are standard anemia tests accurate?
Dec 2, 2003

My question is about anemia, which I saw you writing about somewhere else.

Are the tests accurate? The reason I ask is that, although my doctor said the tests indicate I am not anemic, I experience fatigue a lot, my mother was anemic, and I was once diagnosed as anemic by an "alternative practitioner" who did the test in her office.

I'm assuming anemia is the same condition as low blood levels of iron.

Thank you.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Tests for anemia are standardized and extremely accurate. "Alternative Practitioners" are unfortunately neither standardized nor often accurate.

Simply put, anemia means you have too few red blood cells, the cells that contain hemoglobin, which is a key protein that takes oxygen form your lungs and carries it to all parts of your body. Oxygen is necessary for energy.

A low blood level of iron is called iron deficiency. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, but the two conditions are medically distinct. Many other things can cause anemia blood loss, chronic disease, HIV, cancer, B12 or folic acid deficiency, etc., etc., etc.

Anemia can cause fatigue as well as a host of other symptoms. Fatigue can also be caused by many conditions other than anemia.

Bottom line: If you're fatigued and concerned about anemia, see a real doctor for a real test. There is nothing "alternative" about this condition.

Dr. Bob


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