Anemia and Fatigue : Up, Up and Away

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Back to home » HIV 101 » POZ Focus » Anemia and Fatigue

Table of Contents

 
Up, Up and Away

Tiredness Test

Tips To Turbocharge

Acing Anemia

Beating The Blues

Hormone Hoo-ha

Handling Hep

Lifestyle Lift

 
What You're Talking About
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Shingles

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Up, Up and Away

There's no need to let HIV-related fatigue hold you down.

We all feel drained from time to time, but there's a difference between feeling a little tired and the condition known as fatigue. "Normal tiredness is what you feel after walking half a mile if you're not used to it," says Lisa Capaldini, MD, of the University of California at San Francisco. "Fatigue is like the rug is pulled out from under you. You do a minor activity, like shaving or packing your kids' lunch, and you need to lie down."

Fatigue is no joke: It affects at least a third of people with HIV and can interfere with work, relationships—even your ability to adhere to your HIV meds. Everyone is at risk, from the just-diagnosed to HIV veterans, but many people are reluctant to tell their doctors about fatigue, thinking it's not that big a deal. Some misinformed docs agree, saying it just comes with the HIV territory.

So what causes you to lose your juice? Likely culprits are a blood condition called anemia, low levels of the hormone testosterone and depression. But there are many causes: opportunistic infections, poor diet, physical inactivity, alcohol or recreational drug use, lack of sleep. Plus various causes can interact. "Sometimes it's very difficult to identify a single culprit," says Edwin DeJesus, MD, medical director of Florida's Orlando Immunology Center.

The good news is that there are many effective fatigue treatments, from potent meds to simple lifestyle changes. This last of our three-part series on the evolution of HIV therapy explains fatigue's causes, its treatment and how to keep your energy lifting you higher and higher.



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