Are Low Nutrient Levels Secondary To Disease, Or A Primary Contributing Factor To Progression Of Disease?
There is considerable evidence that many people may be susceptible to disease or disease progressionbecause of poor hematology, rather than disease being the cause of poor hematology. The study of hematology has long been the basis for diagnosis, providing the fundamental understanding of the body’s chemistry and ratios which regulate it’s biochemistry. The trend has been to use blood tests to verify a diagnosis rather than as a tool of both diagnosis and treatment.
This case study examines the relationship of iron and sodium levels to the process of healing and regeneration of an AIDS patient. Regular chemistry panels, including total iron and CBC were conducted on the patient from 1994 to 1997. While all blood values and ratios were examined each time, this paper concentrates specifically on the key components of iron and sodium which trigger changes throughout the hematology.
Iron is necessary for life. As a key component of hemoglobin, iron is essential in the transport of oxygen, tissue respiration, and the development of blood cells. Sodium is essential to maintain the body’s normal water metabolism and acid/base balance, and to keep the proper amount of fluids in the blood stream and in the tissues around the cells. Low iron and sodium levels have long been associated with loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss (wasting). Extreme weight loss is generally recognized as a major contributing factor to disease progression and loss of health.
Decreased levels of red blood cells are usually associated with anemia’s, severe infections, certain cancers, lead poisoning, and prolonged bleeding. Some causes of low iron include excess calcium intake, loss of blood, iron-poor diet, bone marrow or liver degeneration. Decreased serum sodium is found in patients with diabetes or inadequate adrenal function, and in those patients who take diuretic drugs, are over-hydrating with distilled water, have poor dietary intake, and experience excessive sweating. Having an adequate supply of iron and sodium furnishes the body with the building blocks necessary to fight infection and heal. How does the physician scientifically determine the cause of low iron or sodium? Should iron/sodium adjustments be considered as a part of treatment?
Many patients with low iron levels are treated as if low iron is a normal part of the disease (HIV, AIDS, Cancer, etc). Without iron to make hemoglobin, there is poor transport of nutrients through the blood supply. Impaired ability to carry nutrients to the cells can lead to inhibition of cellular regeneration, increased susceptibility to infection, oxygen starvation and anemia. Iron supplementation and even total iron transfusion are relatively inexpensive interventions which can raise iron levels to acceptable ranges and turn metabolism on.
The question then arises: Is low iron/sodium secondary to the disease or a primary contributing factor to progression of the disease? The case study subject is a 33 year old white male diagnosed with AIDS, Pneumonia (PCP), and Mycobacterium Avium Intracellulare (MAI). At the beginning of the study (6-19-94) he weighed 121 lbs., showed Iron at 27, Hematocrit at 28.6, Hemoglobin at 10.2, and Sodium at 138. Symptoms of wasting, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, spiking fevers ranging from 97.20 F to 105.90 F (often within 30 minutes), convulsive tremors with onset of spiking fevers, low level dementia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, herpes zoster (shingles), and vertigo.
Over the next three years the case study subject was given supplements based upon the blood tests and his diet and fluid intake were closely monitored. During a critical five month period between August 1994 and December 1994, he had three blood transfusions and two total iron transfusions (he was given an additional blood transfusion in May of 1995). By October of 1995, his Iron was 67, Hematocrit 36.2, Hemoglobin 12.5, Sodium 141, and his weight was 167. The patient no longer had symptoms of PCP or MAI, gained weight, and raised his blood values above the low end of the reference ranges. He continued to maintain this progress in 1996 and 1997. This case study provides evidence of the ability of the body to rebuild, despite the on-going presence of the disease, when blood nutrient values are raised.
Typically anti-viral and anti-bacterial drugs are given to AIDS patients, including this subject, along with various protease inhibitors to inhibit the proliferation of the virus itself. While providing valuable assistance to suppression of viral/bacterial proliferation, they do not provide the building blocks of nutrients necessary for the body to build it’s own defenses or handle the sometimes extreme side effects of these drugs. Nor do they furnish the nutrients for rebuilding tissue.
Stopping the progression of the virus is the natural focus of treatment for AIDS patients. The current protease inhibitors are making dramatic improvements in the health and mortality rates for those suffering from this disease. The continued improvement may, however, hinge on the ability of the body to rebuild and fight infection.
A comprehensive examination of the hematology of the patient provides the evidence necessary to make recommendations for supplementation and possible total iron transfusion or other appropriate blood transfusion to balance blood chemistry. More specifically, a Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) can determine the need for a total iron transfusion.
The costs of raising hematology levels by supplementation, improvement in diet, and in severe cases, total iron transfusion or blood transfusion, are relatively inexpensive compared to ongoing hospitalization and treatment for infections, wasting, and subsequent disease progression. Given the proper nutrient balance, the body will rebuild, repair, and fight infection and disease.
Reference material is part of the "Iron Study In The Progression Of AIDS" from a database of over 12,000 blood tests maintained and developed by Life Balances.