Feeling like you have no energy is a common symptom of most types of anemia, mainly because of the lack of oxygen in your tissues. If you have symptoms of anemia, Hunterdon Hematology Oncology provides cutting-edge therapies that improve patient outcomes and resolve issues in half the time of traditional treatments.
What is anemia?
Anemia is a blood disorder where you aren’t getting enough oxygen into your tissues due to a lack of healthy red blood cells. Anemia is best known for making you feel weak and tired much of the time.
There are numerous types of anemia, including:
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Sickle cell anemia
- Vitamin deficiency anemia
- Aplastic anemia
Anemia could be a short or long term problem and might be mild or severe.
Without the correct treatment, anemia can have a severe impact on your quality of life. It can, in some cases, cause dangerous problems, including pregnancy complications, heart arrhythmias, an enlarged heart, and heart failure. Conditions like sickle cell anemia can cause potentially life-threatening complications.
What causes anemia?
The most common type of anemia is iron-deficiency anemia, which develops when you haven’t got enough iron in your body. Iron is critical for the manufacture of hemoglobin, so an iron deficiency means you can’t make enough red blood cells.
This type of anemia is common during pregnancy and can also be due to heavy bleeding during menstrual periods. Certain medications like aspirin and conditions such as stomach ulcers can also lead to blood loss, resulting in anemia.
Iron isn’t the only micronutrient you need to produce red blood cells. Vitamin deficiency or pernicious anemia arises due to a lack of folate and vitamin B12, either because you don’t have enough in your diet or can’t absorb B12.
Other potential causes of anemia include:
- Kidney disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
The inflammation that many of these conditions cause is often responsible for the anemia. Hemolytic anemias like the hereditary sickle cell anemia develop when your red blood cells die too quickly, causing an ongoing shortage.
How is anemia treated?
The first step is to find the cause of your anemia, which is normally possible through blood testing. Occasionally, you might require a bone marrow test.
If your anemia is diet-related, making changes to your diet and using iron supplements or B12 shots as directed by your hematologist at Hunterdon Hematology Oncology should resolve the problem.
If you have chronic anemia due to an underlying condition, optimizing treatment for that condition is important. Medications that suppress your immune system could be helpful for autoimmune anemia, while other types of medications and folic acid supplements can be useful for some forms of anemia.
You might need to have a blood transfusion to boost the levels of red blood cells in your body, or an injection of erythropoietin, a hormone that can help increase the production of red blood cells. Another option is a bone marrow transplant.
The Hunterdon Hematology Oncology team also delivers expert chemotherapy treatment for patients whose anemia is due to bone marrow disease.
To find out whether you have anemia and get the best possible treatment, call Hunterdon Hematology Oncology today, or book an appointment online.