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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
           
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Totally Tired -- What Can I do?
Jan 26, 1998

Dear J.B. -- I've been living with HIV/AIDS for 10 years and although I haven't had many major illnesses for the past four years I suffer from severe fatigue. It is so intense that it inhibits most of my daily life activities. My doctor and

I have gone round and round trying to determine it's source, and a good treatment to no avail.

When it hits hard, which is a regular thing, my entire body, including my brain, just shuts down. Any insights and possible treatments? I welcome your response.

Response from Mr. Molaghan

Living with HIV disease for ten years,can itself be exhausting. Many patients, unfortunately, share your symptoms and frustrations. You mentioned that you and your physician have gone "round and round" trying to determine your source of fatigue. I don't know the specifics of your personal situation, but it may be time to revisit the issue with your physican. Perhaps making a special appointment specifically looking at major fatigue sources -- one by one. Major sources of fatigue in HIV disease include:

1) Active disease process (acute or chronic).

2) Rising viral load and inadequate response to antiretroviral treatment.

3) Anemia (lack of red blood cells) caused by medication side effects or a disease that hurts the bone marrow.

4) Depression-a major source of fatigue, that the patient is sometimes unable to identify him/herself.

5) Dehydration-symptoms can be subtle.

6) Hypogonadism in men (decreased production of the hormone testosterone.

7) Inadequate function of the adrenal glands.

8) Weight loss and poor nutrition.

These are a few of the major points to discuss with your medical provider. A thourough history and physical exam as well as a symptom specific discussion can frequently identify the source of fatigue and result in successful treatment and improved quality of life. Good luck!


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