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Thread: iron deficiency and blood disorders

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    Default iron deficiency and blood disorders

    Does anyone relate to having iron deficiency and/or low hemoglobin levels with LUpus? I have had iron deficiency happen twice now. The first time, it resulted in needing a blood transfusion and I had to have IV infusions of Iron--Kenefir for 6 weeks at a time. It was quite scary the first time because my bloodwork was somewhat normal and then the next month it was like the bottom fell out and they were sending me to then nearest hospital..(..I live in a rural area and drive into the city to see Dr.) to get a blood transfusion.
    They told me that Lupus was the culprit for causing the iron drop. I have to be real careful about iron supplements. Many of them cause me to be nauseous, so I eat plenty of different foods with iron in them and just take my chances with the Lupus and anemia issues.
    I'm also on so many drugs that I'm sure everything working together doesn't help my levels much either.
    I just wanted to see if anyone else was having these issues....it sure would help to talk to a fellow Lupie!
    Trisha

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    Hi Auntietrish;

    Blood disorders are common in lupus and can be very important. The most common blood disorders and concerns are:
    * Anemia: low hemoglobin or red blood cells
    * Thrombosis: excess blood clotting
    * Blood transfusion
    * Bone marrow testing

    The most common blood disorder is anemia, affecting about half of all people with active lupus. Anemia can mean a low red blood cell count, or a low hemoglobin, or a low hematocrit. In the most important sense, anemia means too little hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein inside red cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all the tissues of the body. Fatigue, a very common lupus symptom, is generally the first and most common symptom of anemia.

    IRON DEFICIENCY:
    Normal red blood cells live only 120 days (about four months) and must constantly be produced by the bone marrow. The commonest explanation for anemia is a reduced red cell production. This may be due to inflammation (the biggest culprit in Lupus); kidney problems (when the kidneys do not produce enough of the hormone, erythropoietin, that stimulates the marrow to make more red cells); iron deficiency (without which hemoglobin cannot be made—iron deficiency may result from menstrual bleeding or from intestinal bleeding due to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs); or direct depression of the bone marrow by certain lupus drugs (such as azathioprine or cyclophosphamide). Intestinal bleeding can be obvious if the stool is red, maroon, or pitch black in color, but often bleeding is so slow and gradual that special stool tests are needed to detect it.
    The treatment of anemia in lupus depends on its cause. Inflammation can be reduced with drugs such as prednisone. For iron deficiency, iron given orally, such as ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate, is almost always effective. In the case of bleeding, the source should be determined in order to correct the problem. Erythropoietin or darbepoietin may be given to individuals with kidney problems to stimulate the bone marrow to make more red blood cells. The same may be given to patients with anemia who are taking azathioprine or cyclophosphamide. For hemolysis due to antibodies, prednisone and other drugs are often helpful, but sometimes the best treatment is splenectomy. This is an abdominal surgery to remove the spleen (which may be done laparoscopically, that is, with small incisions in the abdominal wall).

    I hope that this information has been helpful to you. Let me know if you need anything more.

    Peace and Blessings
    Saysusie

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    Auntietrish!
    Yes, Yes! Here's how I go....Spent 2 years with a hemotologist being treated for Hemolytic Anemia-distruction of red blood cells/low red blood cell count. This dr. swore I had nothing causing this, such as cancer or any other conditions/diseases. At the end of 2 years, being treated with an average dose of 30mg daily of prednisone, he suggested I have my spleen removed. I discontinued my prednisone, had the splenectomy and 2 months later became deathly ill, hospitalized for 8 days with major complications. Final diagnosis on the 8th day....Lupus. During the hospitalization, I did have 2 units of blood transfused, 2 Rituxan treatments(2more to follow).
    Since then, (2005) I have been on Prednisone(for pericarditis, mainly)Methotrexate, Colchicine, Protonix, Folic Acid, Calcium, Iron. and sometimes Fosomax for bones.
    My iron has been low one time, my RBC counts have been normal since 05.
    I have read that Rituxan treatments(when needed for severe cases)for hemolytic anemia have been successful. In my case, wether for lupus treatment or anemia, as far as my anemia, my blood has been normal.
    The transfusions, Im sure were a big help.
    For now, all is well for me, trying to reduce prednisone slowly, after 2 years + I am down to 11.5mg daily. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed I can lower by 1 mg every month.
    Be well, Kimb-Calif.

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