Anemia Prevention & Treatment

Published: April 15, 2010

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How to Prevent Against This

Some types of anemia cannot be prevented. Sickle-cell disease is an example of this type of anemia. Sickle-cell anemia is a genetic condition, so the disease cannot be avoided if you inherit the genes.

Anemia due to blood loss is also difficult to prevent since accidents and injuries are unpredictable. If you do find yourself in a situation where you start to lose a significant amount of blood, you should try to stop or limit the bleeding as much as possible until you can get help.

For other types of anemia, supplements and vitamins can help prevent the condition and treat symptoms. A doctor might decide to put you on a diet that helps with the production of healthy red blood cells. You might even need to take regular supplements or medications to complement your diet.

To prevent becoming anemic, it can be helpful to eat foods that are rich in iron, vitamin B12, and foliate. For some people, these foods do not adequately prevent against anemia. A doctor might choose to put you on a regular vitamin and supplement regimen. Folic acid, iron, and vitamin B6 are supplements that the doctor might ask you to take. The type of supplements that you take is related to the type of anemia that you develop or are likely to develop. For example, a person who is iron deficient may not necessarily benefit from a vitamin B12 supplement.

If you have been diagnosed as anemic or borderline anemic, you should take precautions to stay up to date with your routine physicals and blood tests. Catching a problem or recurring condition early on can help to prevent severe anemia in the future. Take efforts to catch even the most subtle warning signs to prevent problems later on.

Keep track of your symptoms so that you can communicate with your doctor. You may be unaware of a potential underlying condition that is triggering your anemia. Your condition may be serious, so it is important that you follow your doctor's instructions for additional tests.

If you start to fail faint, nauseous, or dizzy, you should sit down immediately. Fold your upper body over your knees with your head between your legs until you start to feel stable once again.

If you are pregnant, make sure that you stay up to date with your regular exams and scans. You want to make sure that you and your baby are safe.

Diet Tips

In general, people with anemia or a predisposition to anemia should eat foods that are rich in iron, vitamin B12, and foliate. Examples of foods that include these necessary ingredients are beef, lentils, and dark vegetables. Pregnant women may require a more customized diet that is based on physician recommendations.

Before starting any diet plan, it is important to consult with a physician or dietician. Many foods that help treat and prevent anemia can cause other problems such as constipation, so talk to a doctor about ways to minimize levels of discomfort.

There is no cookie-cutter anemia diet since the condition can result from a variety of physical causes. You will need to know the precise cause of your anemia in order to determine what diet will work for you. Some degree of trial and error may be necessary to find a diet plan that works.

Treatment & Relief Methods

Treatments and relief methods vary based on what type of anemia you have. People with chronic anemia, for example, may require prescription medications including recombinant erythropoietins for patients who experience anemia due to chemotherapy.

Patients who experience anemia due to blood loss may require a blood transfusion. These treatments are typically for patients with acute anemia due to a sudden injury.

The most common treatment and relief methods involve specialized diets and nutritional supplements. The doctor might ask you to consume more foods such as spinach, peanuts, eggs, and prune juice. The doctor might also ask you to monitor your diet closely and make sure that you eat important meals, like breakfast.

Surgery

For the most part, anemia is not treated with surgery. A blood or bone marrow stem cell transplant may be necessary for patients with certain autoimmune conditions and cancers. Certain patients may need to have their spleens removed if the body is destroying blood cells at a high rate. Other surgeries might be necessary to prevent excessive bleeding, especially if you have colon cancer or a stomach ulcer.

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