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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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HIV & the Good Mom
Jul 20, 2004

How in the world is it possible to be a healthy HIV positive woman (14+ yrs. and still going) and be a good mother?!?!? I am at my wit's end. I seem to feel rested only after sleeping 13-15 hours a day. I know it's HIV related fatigue. How do I treat this? I have only come up with 2 options: sleep my life away, or start methamphetamines. Neither are attractive choices. Naps are a joke, as I will "nap" for 4-6 hours. Any tips? I have a wonderful, helpful son, but I would like to be awake for the remainder of his childhood! Thank you!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Sleepy Man,

I agree neither becoming Rip Van Winkle nor Robert Downie Junior is an attractive choice.

HIV-related fatigue is phenomenally common and can be challenging to conquer. The main reason is that it is often multifactorial. That means there are often multiple factors at play simultaneously working to zap our zip. So how do you get your groove back, recharge your batteries, and resume your strive-and-thrive spirit? Glad you asked! First, read the archives of this forum for a good basic foundation on the common causes of HIV-related fatigue:

1. inadequate rest, sleep (OK, this was not your problem, I know), diet, and exercise

2. Hormonal imbalances, such as testosterone (yes, Mom, even in women!), thyroid problems, and adrenal insufficiency

3. Medication side effects

4. Unrecognized infections

5. Psychological causes

6. Anemia

Review all of these potential problems with your HIV specialist in detail! If, after attending to these, you are still in the grips of "HIV Mystery Fatigue," write back and we'll talk about other plans quaffing protein shakes, popping some multi's, om-ing out at yoga, and saying your daily T-cell-boosting affirmations!

OK Mom! Good luck! Remember we are all in this together. If you need me to come in and baby-sit while you run off to the day spa for a seaweed wrap, just let me know! In addition to being a board-certified immunologist, I'm also a board-certified pediatrician!

Dr. Bob


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