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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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Pre
Jan 21, 2004

Dear Dr. I love your site thanks for taking the time to consider my question. I Have been infected with HIV for 1 year how long does it take to develop anemia b/c I havent been able to run and have been feeling very tired lately. Thanks Pre

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Pre,

Thanks for your comments. We're delighted to be of service.

Regarding the development of anemia, there is no specific time frame. At times, anemia can develop extremely rapidly for example, with blood loss from a traumatic accident or surgery. Other times, it can occur relatively quickly over a period of weeks to months for example, as a side effects of AZT, which can suppress the bone marrow's production of new red blood cells. Anemia sometimes develops even more slowly for instance due to nutritional deficiencies or poor absorption of certain nutrients, such as iron, vitamin B-12, or folic acid. Anemia can even be the result of HIV itself that can cause chronic inflammation over a number of years, which eventually suppresses the production of new red blood cells.

So what should you do? First off, find out if anemia is the cause of your fatigue and exercise intolerance. These are two common symptoms of anemia, but they can also be caused by many other conditions as well. Anemia is diagnosed with a very simple blood test called hemoglobin. The lower range of normal for men is 14 g/dL and 12 g/dL for women. If you are anemic, you, with the help of your HIV doctor, need to find out why and treat that cause of the problem. If you are not anemic, talk to your HIV doctor about other potential causes of fatigue. I've discussed the common causes many times in this forum. Just check the archives for a quick review.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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