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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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Anemia Question, for those not on meds
Aug 17, 2004

I am HIV positive and not on any type of medication therapy, yet. Both my T-cell count and viral load are managable. But, I have been diagnosed anemic and experience extream fatigue. I would just like some strait answers on this site, I dont have time to read personal atnidotes. Just be strait forward and list some possible causes. Please dont sugarcoat the answers or try to make them sound upbeat. I am the type of person that is interested in scientific answers, just the facts, no fluff.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You sound like Sergeant Friday form that old TV. show "Dragnet," when he would say (in a very deadpan way), "I want the facts mam, just the facts!"

I think if you check the archives, you'll find many no fluff straight-forward scientific responses that list the common possible causes of HIV-associated fatigue and anemia. Check it out!

I'll provide a short list for you here as well.

A "scientific, just the facts, no fluff" list of potential causes of HIV-associated fatigue:

1. Anemia

2. Depression (or psychological causes in general stress, anxiety, etc.)

3. Hormonal imbalances (low testosterone, low thyroid hormone production, adrenal gland insufficiency)

4. Inadequate rest, sleep, exercise, and/or diet

5. Intercurrent infections

6. Drug side effects or toxicities.

Next, a "scientific, just the fact, no fluff" list of potential causes of HIV-associated anemia:

1. HIV itself (anemia of chronic disease)

2. Drug toxicity (AZT, Bactrim, ganciclovir, dapsone, pyrimethamine, interferon, cancer chemotherapy, etc.)

3. Opportunistic infections (MAC, TB, CMV, fungal infections, parvovirus B19, etc.)

4. Opportunistic malignancies (Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, etc.)

5. Nutritional deficiencies (vitamin B12, folic acid, iron)

6. Blood loss

OK, well I certainly hope that wasn't too sugar-coated or upbeat for you. Perhaps someday your mood ring will change from that foul brown color to a more hopeful and cheery mauve or optimistic cranberry color and you'll want to share with us your personal "atnidote"!

As a "virally enhanced" person myself, I do realize living with HIV can be difficult, but couldn't you at least try to lighten up a bit and smell the coffee??? We are all in this together OK? And as Julie Andrews tunefully sings "just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!..."

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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