Traveling Dog Lady: Anemia - the often undiagnosed epidemic

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Anemia - the often undiagnosed epidemic

I generally reserve this blog for dog-related or other non-medical stuff, and use the Fibro-Fog Chronicles to post about medical info. But this topic is important enough to broadcast more widely, so I'm posting it on both blogs.

Women: please! Get yourselves checked for anemia. This is an often easy-to-treat problem, and incredibly easy to diagnose. However, this epidemic (as some experts believe) is often overlooked and undiagnosed, with perhaps millions of women being told "it's all in your head" or "there's nothing wrong with you". There is no excuse for this. Doctors: please! when a woman comes to you with annoying symptoms do not "diss" her -- test her for anemia, and then educate yourself on the symptoms of anemia.

I was told that my symptoms were NOT from my hereditary anemia by several doctors. Guess what, that is not true! All of my symptoms are from anemia. Every single one of them. Yet not even the hematologist nor the neurologist nor the rheumatologist suggested anything of the kind. It was simply "No" (from the hematologist) and "there's nothing wrong with you" from the others. Do not let this happen to you! Get yourself tested, and educate yourself on anemia. Below are some links to help you get started. Check out Wikipedia as well.

I found this web site anemia.org. This non-profit organization was created by medical professionals who see anemia as a huge epidemic in the United States and want to bring this fact to the attention of the medical establishment, ordinary physicians, and citizens in general. They estimate that 3.4 million people have been diagnosed with anemia (in one form or another), but that this estimate is low, and that anemia is much more serious of a health concern than people realize.

Anemia is often UNDIAGNOSED, even though a simple, routine blood test can detect anemia very easily.

As you can imagine, since I have been diagnosed with a hereditary form of hemolytic anemia, I am on my latest crusade! I totally agree with these folks that anemia is seriously under-diagnosed. In fact, perhaps my journey of the last 5 years would have been significantly shortened had any one doctor taken the time to learn that the symptoms I am experiencing ARE symptoms of anemia (contrary to what they all told me).

I hope to be able to invove myself in this organization somehow, and am planning to write a letter to their executive director.

In the meantime, here are some links you may find interesting:
http://www.anemia.org/patients/symptoms-quiz/
http://www.anemia.org/resources/education-kit/about.php
http://www.anemia.org/patients/faq/
http://www.anemia.org/
http://www.anemiainwomen.com/html/home.htm

K2