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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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ANEMIA
Jan 25, 2005

Hey Doctor Bob,

Look guy, I've got to tell ya, I'm not homosexual or anything but you are one fine looking fellow. OK,here's the question. How does someone know if they are anemic? My "girlfriend" has this doc who has done some blood tests and even mentioned maybe a bone biopsy if these didn't show anything. What's the best treatment for anemia if she has it? Should I have her eat diffenent stuff or take iron pills or maybe start that injection medication stuff?

Thanks Doc, I really wish I had your charm, wit, and looks. Did I mention I'm really not gay?

Tucker

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Tucker,

The basic test is a CBC (Complete Blood Count), which is usually done every three to six months. If your hemoglobin is low (less than 12 g/dL for women; less than 14 g/dL for the guys), you're anemic and your doc will then need to find out why. Initially he/she will look at your HIV meds (particularly if you're taking AZT) and check your iron, B12, folic acid and erythropoietin levels. More advanced tests may include a reticulocyte count or even a bone marrow biopsy.

Treatment should be specifically directed at the cause or causes of your anemia. For instance, Procrit (Epoetin alfa) works like a charm for anemia of chronic disease (caused by HIV itself) or AZT-induced anemia by stimulating the production of additional new red blood cells. It's easily self-injected once per week and very light on side effects. General dietary measures include eating fish, meat and poultry, which are rich in iron and vitamin B12, plus spinach, asparagus and lima beans for folic acid. Don't take "extra" iron unless yours is low, because too much can be bad for your liver.

Finally Tucker, look dude, sure I believe you're "not homosexual." In fact, I'll bet you're as straight as a lawn dart. But you state you're "not homosexual or anything." Surely you must be something gay, straight, bi-curious, switch hitter, tranny, Mormon . . . something!!!!

Well, at any rate, good luck to both you and your "girlfriend."

Dr. Bob


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