Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Newly diagnosed anemia could mean bigger issues for mom

Mom's doctor called today and wants to schedule a colonoscopy- the reason:  Mom's red blood count has been steadily falling over the past year; she is anemic.   She has no internal bleeding or other symptoms to indicate why she's anemic.  He fears she might have an ulcerated colon polyp.  She's had polyps in the past and should have a colonoscopy every 5 years to catch polyps before they become cancerous.   The doctor wanted my opinon on whether mom would want the colonoscopy and if she could stand the "preparation" for the procedure.   We agreed that it's best to do the prep at the hospital before the colonoscopy.  The prep is a complete cleansing of the colon with really strong laxatives; it can be nasty.  It means sitting on a toilet for long periods and possible dehydration.   Given her age and tendency to be slightly dehydrated it's best to do it at the hospital where they can quickly diagnose and address any complications.

I did some brief research on anemia in the eldery and am more concerned for mom.    The immediate worry is cancer or pre-cancerous polyps.   If that is NOT the cause of the anemia then we must worry about finding the cause and the secondary effects of low iron in Mom's blood.   For healthy younger people anemia meand fatigue and reduced endurance.  In the eldery it can mean increased risk of heart attack and has been linked to vascular dementia - confusion and forgetfulness resulting from decreased oxygen to the brain.  Long term effects of anemia are organ failure and even peptic ulcers.

I hate the idea of a prolonged diagnosis of the cause of this anemia.  I find myself almost wishing it is some polyp that is easily removed so she'll be fine but I can't help worry that there's something else wrong.  If it's not polyps then tests and procedures will wear Mom out and make her worry.   For now, I will tell her only that it's time for her regular colonoscopy and that I'll be there to help her through the prep and the procedure.  The rest we'll handle as it comes.

Mom has anemia what does that mean? anemia in the elderly causes of anemia in the elderly dementia from anemia. Can anemia cause dementia? can anemia cause alzhiemers?
colonoscopy in the elderly , anemia in the elderly should my mom have a colonoscopy.    , colon cancer in the elderly.  grandma has colon cancer.