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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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What's wrong with me?
May 9, 2000

I have been anemic for about 10 years, with a hemoglobin of about 4.6. The last time I went to my gynecologist I was referred to an internist. Please tell me what it is the internist will be checking for? I function pretty well. I eat healthy. So what is causing me to be so anemic for so long? Could I be HIV positive? Or like is it something else? More Worried than sound.

Response from Dr. Frascino

A hemoglobin level of 4.6 is extremely low. Might this be an error? Long-standing anemia can have a wide variety of potential causes. Some types of anemia are even hereditary. Your internist will evaluate you for the most common causes of anemia, including nutritional deficiencies –- iron, vitamin B12, and folate –- drug toxicities, as well as potential chronic illnesses. Anemia can be a complication of HIV infection. The only way to tell if you've been exposed to HIV is to have the HIV antibody test.

Once the specific cause of the anemia has been determined, your treatment options should become more readily evident.

Good luck.

RJF


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