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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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male- hemoglobin-12.6
Sep 18, 2005

Dr. Frascino-for the past 3 months I have been exhausted- My definition of exhaustion is after 10 hours of sleep not having the energy to wash dishes-I am 46-vl-2k-t-cells 215-I was just informed that I am anemic with a hemogloblin count of 12.6. Is this number reason enough for me to request a appoint ment with my Doc.-The results I recieved from screen labs for a drug study. It is scaring me how fatigued I am.-looking forward to your response-thx

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Yes, you are anemic. The normal range of hemoglobin for men is 14-18 g/dL (12-16 g/dL for women). Is this "reason enough" to request an appointment with your HIV specialist? Absofrickinlutely! In fact, just being exhausted is reason enough, whether you're anemic or not! Sure, doing dishes may not be on most folks' top-ten list of most desirable ways to spend a Saturday night, but everyone should at least have zip to soap-scrub-rinse a few coffee mugs.

There are many potential causes for fatigue in the setting of HIV disease. Anemia is certainly one of the most common. It can be caused by a variety of underlying problems ranging from HIV itself (anemia of chronic disease) to medication toxicities (particularly AZT). Your HIV specialist should be able to diagnose these underlying condition(s) and prescribe the appropriate treatment. Whether or not your rather mild degree of anemia is the total cause for all those dirty dishes piling up in the sink is another issue to be addressed. HIV-related fatigue is often multifactorial with several conditions acting simultaneously to zap your zippity-do-da. Common causes of HIV-related fatigue include:

1. anemia

2. hormonal imbalances (low testosterone, low thyroid hormone, adrenal insufficiency)

3. inadequate sleep, rest, diet and/or exercise

4. unrecognized infections

5. stress, depression and/or anxiety

6. medication side effects, toxicities or drug-drug interactions.

Review the information in the archives of this forum for a more detailed discussion of these common, as well as some not-so-common, causes of HIV-related fatigue. Don't be scared about begin fatigued, and also don't ever be reluctant to discuss a potential problem with your HIV specialist.

Good luck. Let me know if you have additional concerns or if you need a hand with the dishes.

Dr. Bob


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