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Diagnosing and treating anemia
It is important to see your provider if you are having symptoms of anemia.
Learn if you have a higher risk for having anemia.
Find out what to expect during your visit to the provider, including diagnosing anemia and treatment options.
The following factors put you at higher risk for anemia:
- Eating a diet that doesn’t include enough iron, Vitamin B-12 and folate
- Intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease
- Bleeding into the intestinal tract
- Heavy menstruation (having your period)
- Pregnancy without taking folic acid
- Chronic conditions such as cancer or kidney failure
- Family history of anemia
- Being over 65 years old
See your primary provider if you are having symptoms of anemia. The provider will do a physical exam and ask about your family history.
Your provider also may order blood tests. The blood tests will tell your provider if you don’t have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin.
Your provider may order other tests to find out if your anemia is a result of another condition.
Treatment for anemia depends on the anemia type. Here are types of anemia problems and their treatments:
- Iron deficiency: Taking iron supplements and changing your eating habits
- Vitamin deficiency: Taking supplements and possibly having B-12 shots
- Anemia of chronic disease: No specific treatment. Your healthcare provider will focus on treating the disease.
- Aplastic anemia: Blood transfusions or a bone marrow transplant
- Anemia due to bone marrow disease: Medication, chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant
- Hemolytic anemias: Changing or not taking certain medications, treating any infections or taking medication that will suppress your immune system
- Sickle cell anemia: There are many possible treatments, including oxygen, medications, increase in fluids, blood transfusions, folic acid supplements, antibiotics and a bone marrow transplant.
- Thalassemia: Blood transfusion, folic acid supplements, medications, stem cell transplant or removing your spleen.