Blood Disorders of HIV Treatment

  • Treatment

    If symptoms of anemia come on rapidly, see a doctor immediately. Lightheadedness, pallor, weakness, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and breathlessness can signal an acute bleeding problem—for example, bleeding into the digestive tract. Obvious rectal bleeding requires immediate attention.

    Anemia symptoms combined with a rash or visual problems may suggest acute thrombocytopenia, which requires emergent attention by your doctor. If you have a low white blood cell count, and you develop a fever > 100.5, contact your doctor immediately.

    Work with your doctor to make sure you are getting enough to eat. Inadequate nutrition can cause anemia over time.

    Keep track of the drugs you are taking, and take them as directed. Your doctor will keep a complete record of your therapy, but you can help by keeping your own record.

    Your doctor is the best source of information on the drug treatment choices available to you.

    Transfusions are sometimes used to help relieve anemia. Your doctor will help you decide whether or not transfusion is an appropriate treatment for you. Transfusion therapy, which can, in rare cases, be associated with complications, is generally reserved patients who have more severe symptoms.

    Vitamin supplements can help correct anemia caused by iron or vitamin deficiency. In addition, there are a variety of nutritional supplements available to help ensure that people get enough nutrients in their diets. Ask your doctor for more information.

    Anemia due to an enlarged spleen may be helped by spleen removal. The spleen is a major site of red blood cell destruction. An enlarged spleen may also reduce the number of white blood cells and platelets in the bloodstream. Treatment is typically targeted at the problem that caused the spleen to enlarge in the first place, but spleen removal might be considered in rare cases.

    Blood complications in HIV disease are associated with a more rapid progression to AIDS. There are, however, a number of different types of anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia. Prognosis depends on the specific cause of the low blood count.

    Control of anemia in HIV requires regular supervision by a physician. Because the schedules of anti-HIV drugs are run on a tight schedule, it is important to your ongoing health to coordinate your care closely with your doctor.

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