Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

anemia and blood loss...what's wrong???

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 6 Replies
  • Posted By: precioustime
  • January 23, 2009
  • 09:59 PM

My mother in law is a type II diabetic. She had open heart surgery and a valve replacement in 2000. In 2007 she began having severe shortness of breath, tired and weight loss. After testing the doctors said she was anemic. Her blood count was at 7. They gave her blood and iron. Six months later the symptoms reoccurred. Blood count again down to 7. After more testing they found several peptic ulcers. They gave her meds for the ulcers, more blood, and again, iron. After retesting again, they told her the ulcers were healed. A month or so later the symptoms returned. Only added to it now were irritability, nose bleeds, loss of mental sharpness, and occasional diarrhea, More tests.. Now they say "probably" the ulcers are not yet healed. Blood was at 8.They gave more iron. She didn't respond to the iron and continued to be completely fatigued and short of air. That was two weeks ago. This week they say she need blood and have admitted her for 3 units. She has a heart doctor, and oncologist who says he won't test for cancer since he thinks her symptoms are strictly from an ulcer. and a GP that gives her iron. What are they missing??? Or what am I missing? There seems to be more than an ulcer here... I just can't shake my fears.

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6 Replies:

  • Is the stool dark in color? Are they sure there is blood in it?Have they tested urine if there might be blood there?
    Felsen 510 Replies
    • January 23, 2009
    • 11:12 PM
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  • yes, the stool is very dark. Of course she insists it is from the iron they are giving her..but it has been dark since the problem began. I don't know if they've tested her urine for blood, I do know it isn't pink or obvious if it does contain blood. She's 81 years old. normal as easy going as they come, but in the last month or two she has become snappy with her remarks and gets angry easy. She has a great deal of pain in her legs at night and doesn't sleep well anymore. I am sure there are several "age" related things going on, my main concern is this blood loss and why.
    precioustime 5 Replies
    • January 23, 2009
    • 11:23 PM
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  • sounds like blood loss anemia. definetly need to find out what's causing the bleeding. I fit isn't corrected she will continue to lose blood and require blood transfusions. Has she had an EGD or colonoscopy? These would show where the bleeding is coming from if in the GI tract. Also she needs to be on an anti ulcer medication like protonix to allow the stomach to heal if there is ulcers present.
    AprilRN 27 Replies
    • January 24, 2009
    • 08:35 PM
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  • sounds like blood loss anemia. definetly need to find out what's causing the bleeding. I fit isn't corrected she will continue to lose blood and require blood transfusions. Has she had an EGD or colonoscopy? These would show where the bleeding is coming from if in the GI tract. Also she needs to be on an anti ulcer medication like protonix to allow the stomach to heal if there is ulcers present. they did the colonoscopy and found ulcers..as well as the EDG which showed several ulcers. They gave her medicine for those ulcers. After retesting, the ulcers appeared to be gone. But in a few months the bleeding had returned and the anemia continued and the need for blood was happening again. And it's back to square one only the time frames between her blood loss seems to be getting shorter and shorter. She does take coumidin for heart surgery she had years ago... but they have cut back the dosage.. She has to take that. She has a replacement valve.
    precioustime 5 Replies
    • January 25, 2009
    • 01:03 AM
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  • does she still take meds for the ulcers? how long has it been since she had the scopes done? repeats may be needed. or at least continue with anti-ulcer meds. easiest way to check for blood in the stool is with a stool sample to test for occult blood. true, stools will be dark with iron therapy, but if they are dark can also be old blood from higher in the GI tract.
    AprilRN 27 Replies
    • January 26, 2009
    • 04:08 AM
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  • I just asked her that in an email, if she was still taking meds for the ulcers but she didn't answer the question... I will ask her again when I see her this weekend. The last scopes were done in the fall of 2008. She told me they said there wasn't blood in her stools. I thought there was. But she says no. But she reafirmed that they still suspect that she has ulcers. So I can only hope they are giving her the meds for them again. But what ever they are doing, she continues to require blood and iron Iv's.
    precioustime 5 Replies
    • January 28, 2009
    • 01:03 AM
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