Skip to content

Information and Resources

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, some people with this disorder require bone marrow transplantation.

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

feet
Solutions for 19 types.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
Woman running
Boost Your Metabolism.
build a better butt
How to build a better butt.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
young woman in sun
What to watch for.
brain scan with soda
Tips to kick the habit.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
stressed working woman
And how to fix them?
fat caliper
Check your BMI.
woman dreaming
What Do Your Dreams Say About You?
man with indigestion
How to keep yours at bay.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.