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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
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Dude, where's my spunk?
Jul 5, 2004

Hey Dr. Bob,

Dude where's my spunk? OK, I'm anemic and might be starting that injection medication soon. I just want to know why anemia makes me feel so damned wiped. And does that injection stuff really work? Is it worth the hassel? I trust you man, 'cause you walk the walk. Thanks dude,

X-treme guy X-isting

Response from Dr. Frascino


OK, follow along, guy. I'll try to explain ..

Anemia means you have too few red blood cells (RBCs). RBCs contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that picks up oxygen from your lungs and then carries it (in the RBCs) throughout your entire body. Oxygen is essential for the body to produce energy. Consequently, if there are not enough RBCs, then there's not enough hemoglobin. If there isn't enough hemoglobin to carry oxygen, your body tissues and organs don't get enough oxygen. And, as I said above, oxygen is essential for energy. See the problem?

That injection stuff is called Procrit. It's a medication that stimulates the production of new RBCs. It's easily self-injected once per week and has minimal side effects. Since the RBC factory (in our bone marrow) takes a while to get primed, Procrit's effects may take up to six weeks to really kick in. Does it really work? When prescribed for the appropriate types of anemia, like HIV-induced anemia of chronic disease or AZT-induced anemia, it works like a charm. Is it worth the hassle? Hell yes! Anemia can cause not only fatigue, but also a whole array of other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, pale skin, rapid heartbeat, headaches, decreased sex drive, inability to concentrate, etc. Also anemia, in the setting of HIV disease, is associated with increased mortality!

As for your other question, "Dude, where's my spunk?" Well, "spunk" may refer to your get-up-and-go, in which case review what I've written above. "Spunk" is also a popular Australian term of endearment for a gym-toned hot stud. In that case, in order to find your spunk, you may need to travel to the Land Down Under. Check out the lifesavers on Bondi Beach or the hunks on Oxford Street. Either way, the best way 2-xist is always to be well-spunked.

Stay energized.

Dr. Bob

The land of the free??? or discrimination

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