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unexplained profound anemia, looking for suggestions

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Old 02-08-2008, 04:10 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: chicago, IL, USA
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pearl125 HB User
unexplained profound anemia, looking for suggestions

Hello everyone
My 35 yo husband was recently diagnosed with profound iron deficiency anemia. They did a chest xray, colonoscopy and endoscopy - all with clear results. He is now on repliva and seeing a hematologist who is trying to get his hemoglobin levels up over the next month, but they have stopped discussing possible causes with us and are only concentrating on the anemia.

Am I right that there must be an underlying cause? If GI bleeding and cancers are ruled out, what do they look for next? Is it possible that this is strictly something nutritional? They said he had no iron stored in his body.

My husband is slowing getting used to the iron supplement (was at first causing bloody explosive stools - but now seeming to tolerate it) but is still "so tired it hurts" --

Just here looking for insights -- thanks in advance!!

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Old 02-08-2008, 07:38 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: FL
Posts: 2,379
Re: unexplained profound anemia, looking for suggestions

Yes, you are right there is an underlying cause. Anemia is a SYMPTOM not a disease itself. I would definitely want to know why especially in a man because this is not normal. When dietary iron is insufficient then stores are used to make up the difference which results in anemia. But I would think that is not very likely, iron is in many things.

Have they checked into anemia of chronic disease? Autoimmune diseases can lead to IDA and there are several. I find it interesting that the iron caused bloody stools perhaps there is something more to that. I wouldn't think that would be too normal to bleed from supplements. Of course I know we all react differently too. I was told you can have microscopic bleeding not seen on scopes. Good luck to you both. Keep us posted. FLFLOWERGIRL

Old 02-09-2008, 04:34 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Northern VA
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ChristineVA HB UserChristineVA HB UserChristineVA HB User
Re: unexplained profound anemia, looking for suggestions

The last ditch attempt to find a cause for anemia is a biopsy of the bone marrow. This test tells all apparently.

As FLFLOWERGIRL says, the next step would be to try to determine if you husband has an unknown disease that is causing destruction of his red blood cells. These are typically autoimmune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, etc. If nothing is found, the final step would be bone marrow biopsy. It is supposed to somewhat painful but definitive.

I'm sure, right now, you hematologist is just trying to get him stabilized but once that is done, you really need to push for an answer.

Old 02-09-2008, 08:11 AM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: chicago, IL, USA
Posts: 2
pearl125 HB User
Re: unexplained profound anemia, looking for suggestions

Thanks FLFLOWERGIRL and Christine -- That is what I thought. We are supposed to go back in a few weeks for more blood tests and I will be pushy -
thanks again for taking the time to answer!!!

Old 02-14-2008, 10:58 AM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 470
plasva HB User
Re: unexplained profound anemia, looking for suggestions

Ask about the possibility of celiac disease causing the anemia. (It's an intolerance of gluten, which is found in all wheat products, oats, barley, etc.) Over years, this intolerance to gluten can damage your intestinal lining so badly that you can no longer absorb nutrients, like iron. The only cure is to eat a completely gluten-free diet, but there are so many gluten-free products at the health food store nowadays. Anyway, people with celiac disease can become very anemic, and it's a disorder that's becoming more widely diagnosed. It's one possibility....

Good luck. I hope you can find the cause of this!

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