Does anyone know how serious very low hemoglobin is for a woman (90)?

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We received call from NH saying MIL hemoglobin *(red blood cells) was critically low & that they called for ambulance. My huband and SIL went to ER to meet it.

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My Mom is 87. She has a history of GERD and takes protonix is daily. She has other medical conditions including COPD. Last March she past out in my arms while standing in the kitchen. (she also had taken her oxygen off which did not help matters). Basically she had low red blood levels and we ended up faced with a similar situational yours. They told us having low red blood levels can be caused by a couple of things one is your body isn't making enough which could be caused by a slew of reasons. The other is that you could be bleeding somewhere in the body internally, also a ton of causes. We could not have a colonoscopy done due to her medical condition. She did have a camera pill study completed which was negative for any bleed in the upper stomach. A colonoscopy would have helped but she cannot tolerate it. So they treated her with biweekly shots of ARANASP to build her red blood. It started to work after a couple of sessions but then her levels dropped again. After that she received iron infusions on a weekly basis for about 6 weeks which seem to help and has kept her stable. It's very important to have regular blood work done to make sure it's at a normal level. At the age of 90, I personally wouldn't put her through lot of vigorous tests. If they find something what will be the plan of action? How will she be treated? Paliative care may be the best way to go. Only you know the answer to that. Prayers to you.
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I missed the last part of this post somehow. Just FYI i have had 25 colonoscopies in my lifetime as I have ulcerative colitis. Through my research I found that there are other procedures, including a test call the fecal immunology test which is as effective in diagnosing problems. There have been great strides in using MRI scans and CT colonography (a type of xray) however these still require the prep, just not the anesthesia. If what you are looking for is bleeding (not polyps) there are other tests too. What the colonoscopy is best for is a person who is expected to have polyps (as they can be removed during the same procedure) or someone who needs a definite diagnosis (like chrohn's or colitis) to base future treatment on. I would have recommended looking into these others had I known there was some controversy here. Maybe this will help someone in the same position in the future.

Angel
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Utzie, I'm so glad the procesure went well. What were the results? Were they able to find the source of the. blood loss?
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Colonoscopy done. MIL is fine...happy to be eating solid food, even tasteless hospital fare. Light stuff, of course. Also, I'm taking the "Kick Me" sign off my back- this is my last post on this forum.
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I can only assume that Babalou is correct in thinking that MIL's doctor must be thinking in terms of being able to deal with the bleeding as part of the same procedure. For the love of Mike, surely otherwise, given the no surgery no chemo agreement, they wouldn't put the poor lady through this?

Utzie, can a family member be there to call a halt if need be?
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I think it's crazy to give this 90 year old woman a colonoscopy. She's going to s**t her brains out and not know why. Without sedation the colonoscopy is going to be super painful...if she remains still enough for them to even get it done. Sedation in a 90 year old has its own list of risks including confusion and dehydration. What a mess. Utzie - I suggest you talk to your husband and ask him whether or not his mother ever would have wanted this much intervention.
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Let's remember that Utzie is the DIL and in a position of "no power". Sounds as though the elderly mom's daughter (utzie's SIL) is running the show. Yes, it's a stupid thing to do this procedure. This is what happens when you don't decide on palliative/hospice measures soon enough. Just my opinion.
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Who does a procedure on someone with low hemoglobin? Whats with that?
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Not even to speak about the fragility of the lining of the intestines! One last chance at the big bucks for a procedure!!! I agree with Veronica.

Maybe you should delay at the very least-get a second opinion. If the patient is too frail for surgery-she is too frail for colonoscpy-makes sense?
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PS This is another case of "I studied medicine on line and you can too" Real diplomas from out credited college $350 each.
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