Understanding Anemia -- Diagnosis and Treatment
What Are the Treatments for Anemia? continued...
Your doctor may also recommend that you increase the amount of iron in your diet. Good dietary sources of iron include red meat, beans, egg yolk, whole-grain products, nuts, and seafood. Many processed foods and milk are also reinforced with iron.
Your doctor will monitor your red blood cell counts, including hematocrit, hemoglobin, and ferritin levels, during treatment. If your anemia doesn't improve with iron supplements, your doctor will look for some other underlying cause. In rare cases, your doctor may prescribe iron injections or give you iron intravenously (through a needle in the vein). In extremely rare cases of life-threatening iron-deficiency anemia, treatment may involve a blood transfusion.
Anemia Caused By Vitamin B12 and Folate Deficiency
Treatment depends on the cause of the deficiency. If your body stores are depleted of vitamin B12, your doctor will most likely prescribe vitamin B12 injections. Vitamin B12 can also be given by mouth, but very high doses are needed. The dose is 200 times higher than the dose commonly found in multivitamins. Vitamin B12 can also been given under the tongue or in a nasal spray, but these preparations are expensive and have not been adequately studied to be recommended. There is a good chance that many of the symptoms of deficiency will improve once the body is provided with the needed B12.
Most people with vitamin B12 deficiency have a permanent inability to absorb vitamin B12 and will need injections every one to three months or pills daily for the rest of their lives.
Some forms of gastric bypass surgery are associated with deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, and other nutrients typically absorbed in the part of the stomach that is bypassed.
Your doctor may also recommend that you increase the amount of vitamin B12 in your diet. Good dietary sources of vitamin B12 are meat, liver, and kidney; fish, oysters, and clams; and milk, cheese, and eggs.
If you have a folate deficiency, your doctor will prescribe folate supplements, and may recommend you increase the amount of folate in your diet. Good dietary sources of folate include fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts); liver and kidney; dairy products; and whole grain cereals. Vegetables should be eaten raw or lightly cooked.
Anemia Caused by Problems of the Bone Marrow and Stem Cells.
This anemia tends to be more persistent and difficult to treat. The treatments for hereditary anemias, such as thalassemia or sickle cell disease, vary widely and depend on the specific condition and the severity of symptoms. Some anemias will not require any treatment, while others may require repeated transfusions and other aggressive measures. Although aplastic anemia will occasionally go into spontaneous remission, people with this disorder generally require bone marrow transplantation.