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How to Treat Anemia

In the beginning of December, we wrote a blog about anemia –a medical condition that occurs when a person’s body doesn’t produce enough healthy red blood cells.

In that blog, we covered the symptoms and causes of this medical condition. Today, we’ll discuss some viable treatment options for the most common types of anemia and the associated symptoms.

Iron deficiency anemia – Iron supplements and diet changes can help treat this type of anemia. These changes will likely include adding the following foods to your diet:

• Dried fruits
• Dark green, leafy vegetables
• Iron-fortified cereals
• Nuts
• Red meat

Your doctor may also recommend taking a vitamin C supplement in addition to an iron tablet to help absorb the iron in your bloodstream.

Vitamin deficiency anemia – When a diet lacks folate and vitamin B12, the result can be a decrease in red blood cell production. When a person suffers from this type of anemia, dietary supplements and an increase in folic acid and vitamin C can help the body produce an adequate amount of red blood cells.

Anemia of chronic diseases – Diseases such as cancer, Crohn’s disease and other chronic inflammatory illnesses can hinder the production of red blood cells. While there’s no exact treatment for this type of anemia, your doctor will likely focus on treating the underlying disease. In some cases, an injection of erythropoietin, a hormone that’s produced by the kidneys, is used to help stimulate the production of red blood cells.

Hemolytic anemias – This type of anemia can be managed by blood transfusions, medication and lifestyle changes. Treatment options for hemolytic anemia vary depending on the type, cause and severity of the case. The goals for treatment are as follows:

• Treating the underlying cause of the disease
• Increase the red blood cell count to a suitable level
• Decrease or prevent the destruction of red blood cells

Sickle cell anemia – Treatment for this form of anemia includes routine tests to monitor health. These tests include:

• Complete blood count (CBC)
• Urine test
• Tests for organ function
• Test for problems with vision

Pain is a common problem for those suffering from sickle cell anemia. A pain treatment specialist and/or medication for pain management will be used to treat this form of anemia. Additionally, oral and intravenous fluids may be administered to help reduce pain and prevent complications.

There are a variety of treatment options available to help manage the side effects of anemia. Schedule some time to speak with your doctor to determine the best treatment plan for your situation.

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St. Barnabas Health System
5850 Meridian Road
Gibsonia, PA 15044

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