How can we help my wife improve her hemoglobin and can low hemoglogin be a cause of a heart attack?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My wife is 47 years old. She is sufferinfg from acute low hemoglobin (6.4). She has lost her trust in doctors and does not want to visit a doctor. She is also a bit desperate and always thinks of her previous hard and uncomfortable life. She has hatred for some people and relatives and does not like to mix with them. She does not like to to asked any question and any suggestions from others. She has minor sugar attacks and nowadays she is feeling chest congestion and heart palpitations during sleep and when awakening. She is getting weak day by day. She also sufferes from constipation much of time and is afraid of more constipation if she gets medicine. She feels cold and headachey all the time. At times she is very nice and caring and suddenly some thging comes in her mind from her past life and gets annoyed and starts repeating the old days, terrible life period. She believes that she has not been given what she deserved. She is also not satisfied with the behaviour of me and our sons. At time she is very nice and suddenly something irritates her and she starts weeping by narrating her past life.  How can we help her improve her hemoglobin and can low hemoglogin be a cause of a heart attack?


Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

This is a very tough problem.  There are a couple of issues going on here that I will address. 

1)  Low Hemoglobin:  A hemoglobin of 6.4 is critically low and needs to be addressed immediately.  Your wife feels bad because she is severely anemic (she doesn't have enough blood)- this is why she is tired, cold, and has headaches.  With a hemoglobin this low, we would usually do a blood transfusion, as your wife is in danger of dying,  She could have a heart attack from the lack of blood.   She needs to be hospitalized to find out why she is so anemic and to get the care that she needs.

2) Mood swings:  Your wife really sounds like she is have some severe mood swings, which may be a sign of mental illness.  She really needs to talk to a psychiatrist, as she may be suffering from a post traumatic stress disorder or severe depression.

Basically, your wife has several issues going on that need immediate attention.  I think that you should take her to the hospital to get the help that she needs.  I know that she is distrustful, but she is in danger of dying if she does not get help.