The treatment of Anemia can involve medication and surgical procedure. Here we are going to discuss the medication in Anemia. First and foremost, the medication to treat anemia will primarily depend on the type of anemia, its severity and what the doctor considers is the best course of treatment for the patient.

Though there are many variations of treatment to choose from but mostly doctors start with a very basic treatment, unless the circumstances are extreme and there is a reason to believe that life of the patient is in danger. In such a case, the doctor may opt for a special treatment.

Mild anemia can be well treated by simple medications like vitamin supplements, iron supplements, antibiotics and platelet replacement under doctor’s guidance. To treat severe cases, there are intensive treatments like IV fluids and blood transfusions. While mostly doctors do not prefer this treatment but severe anemia (especially if caused by loss of blood) may require this type of aggressive treatment. Those patients who are hospitalized due to severe anemia symptoms are likely to need one (or all) of these treatments.

Also there are a couple of drugs that are useful and effective in fighting anemia. Some of the most common are as follows:

  • Erythropoietin: a hormone produced by the kidneys
  • Vasopressors: a drug to reduce blood pressure

However, these drugs should not be taken without doctor’s prescription as they can prove to be hazardous to health. When one is taking medication for anemia they have to be careful, as there are certain medications that can suppress the immune system that can eventually expose the person to other diseases and problems. Also in some cases the doctor may ask a patient to give up certain medications that they are taking at that time. It is done because some drugs interfere with red cell production and can cause anemia if taken for a long period of time.

It is been observed that most cases of anemia are mild including anemia caused due to chronic disease. Even though it is to be taken in consideration that even in mild anemia the oxygen transport in blood is reduced that cause fatigue and also decrease physical capacity.

Iron deficiency Anemia which is either severe or moderate can cause reduction of endurance. Reduction in red blood cells diminishes the body’s capacity to absorb oxygen from the lungs. Severe anemia if left untreated can cause serious problems can occur in longer run, it can lead to secondary organ damage or dysfunction which also includes heart failure and heart arrhythmia. Anemia which is inherited like Thalassemia major, pernicious anemia and sickle cell anemia can be life threatening particularly Thalassemia major and sickle cell anemia which have their devastating effects on small children.

Here are some of the severe complications of anemia:

Complications of Anemia in Pregnant Women – Pregnant women affected by anemia can have an increased risk of poor pregnancy outcomes especially if they are anemia patient in the first trimester.

Complications of Anemia in Children – Severe anemia in children can stop the growth and can also have adverse affect in mental development. Children suffering from anemia may have less concentration power and decreased alertness. Children may also have risk of stroke if they are suffering from severe iron deficiency anemia.

Complications of Anemia in Elderly – Anemia can have more severe complications in old people in comparison to young people and is quite common in older people.  The effects of anemia in elderly include increased risk of falls and decreased physical strength. Anemia can also increase the severity of cardiac conditions which includes reducing survival chances of a cardiac failure and heart attacks. In older people even mild anemia can worsen the already existing dementia and can also possibly lead to cognitive impairment.

Complications of Anemia in Cancer Patients – Anemia is a serious problem for people who are suffering from cancer as in people who are suffering from common cancer the presence of anemia means a shorter survival period of time for them.

Complications of Anemia in Heart failure patients – The lethal combination of anemia and heart failure increase the chances of death or hospitalization of a patient from 30 to 60%.

Complications of Anemia in Kidney disease Patients – A person suffering from kidney disease if contacted with anemia than it increases it chances of death and risk of heart disease.

Anemia is a condition in which one has less number of red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen to the tissues of human body. As a result the person gets tired soon. There are many types of anemia each with its different cause .Anemia can be temporary or long term and may range from mild to severe.

The various types of Anemia and its treatment are:-

Anemia caused due to Iron deficiency: This type of Anemia is treated with dietary and iron supplements. If the loss of blood is reason for the iron deficiency anemia apart from menstruation then the source of blood loss must be diagnosed and stopped. It can involve surgery apart from medication.

Anemia caused due to Vitamin deficiency: Folic acid supplements can be given to people suffering from folic acid deficiency anemia. If the digestive system is not able to absorb vitamin B-12 from the food which is taken usually by people then they may have to go for vitamin B-12 injections.

Anemia caused due to chronic disease: There is no particular treatment for the above type of anemia. The main focus of doctors is treatment of diagnosed disease. If symptoms of the chronic disease become severe then injections of synthetic erythropoietin (a hormone normally produced by kidneys) or blood transfusion may help to accelerate production of red blood cells and decreased fatigue.

Aplastic Anemia: Treatment for this type of anemia involves transfusion of blood to enhance red blood cells production. If you bone marrow is diseased and can’t generate healthy blood cells then you may go for bone marrow transplant.

Bone marrow disease leading to anemia: Treatment for above disease includes simple medication and chemotherapy (in case of cancer) and sometimes may require transplantation of bone marrow.

Anemia caused due to Hemolytic: Depending on the nature of anemia, blood transfusion or plasmaphresis (This technique involves filtration of blood) may be required. Hemolytic anemia can be managed by proper treatment of infections and avoidance of drugs that suppress our immune system. Treatment which includes steroids or medications can help suppress our immune systems attack on RBCs.

Anemia due to sickle cells (or Sickle cell anemia): A drug named as Hydroxyurea (Droxia, Hydrea) can be used to treat sickle cell anemia. Transplantation of bone marrow can be a effective treatment in severe conditions related to this type of anemia. Treatment includes drugs, oxygen administration, oral fluids and injections to decrease pain and prevent further complications. Folic acid supplements, antibiotics and transfusion of blood can be prescribed be doctors.

Anemia is a condition in which the red blood cells in the blood is low than usual. The reason behind the inadequate amount of red blood cells may be heavy blood loss due to heavy menstruation or heavy injury, reduction in the production of red blood cells and the destruction of red blood cells in the blood. The treatment of anemia is totally depended upon the cause and the severity of the condition as the treatment for one type of anemia may be either inappropriate or dangerous for another type of anemia.

Anemia treatment as per the cause:

Treatment for Vitamin Deficiency anemia– Vitamin deficiency anemia caused due to folic acid is treated with folic acid supplements. In case a patient’s digestive system is having problem in absorbing Vitamin B12 from the food than they a patient is given Vitamin B12 injections in order to meet the body’s requirement for Vitamin B12.

Treatment for Aplastic Anemia –Aplastic anemia may be treated with blood transfusions in order to increase level of red blood cells in the body. In case a patient’s bone marrow is affected and is not able to make required red blood cells than he or she needs to undergo bone marrow transplant.

Treatment for Iron deficiency anemia – The iron deficiency anemia is treated by making changes in the diet and adding more iron supplements. In case the source of blood loss is other than heavy menstruation than the source of bleeding is located and stopped which may involve surgical procedure.

Treatment for Anemia of chronic diseases – There is no as such specific treatment available for this type of anemia. The doctors try to cure the disease which has caused anemia. And in case if the body shows severe symptoms than blood transfusion or injections of synthetic erythropoietin is recommended to patient.  This will help in increasing production of red blood cells in the blood and ease fatigue.

Treatment for Hemolytic Anemia– The treatment for haemolytic anemia includes treating infections, intake of supplements in order to suppress immune system which may be attacking red blood cells and avoiding suspected medications.  Blood transfusion or blood filtering process which is also known as plasmapheresis can also be recommended in case the symptoms become severe.

Treatment for Anemia associated with bone marrow diseases –   The Treatment for anemia which is associated with bone marrow disease can ranges from simple medication to chemotherapy to bone marrow transplant.

Treatment for Sickle Cell Anemia – The treatment for sickle cell anemia may include the intake of pain relieving drugs, oral and intravenous fluids to lessen pain, prevention of complications and administration of oxygen. A patient suffering from Sickle cell anemia may also be recommended folic acid supplements, antibiotics and blood transfusions. In some cases of sickle cell anemia bone marrow transplant may be an effective treatment. In order to treat sickle cell anemia the doctors can also recommend the use of hydroxyurea which is a drug used for curing cancer.

Anemia is normally tested and confirmed by a complete blood cell (CBC) count.  After a general check-up, a physician usually orders for the CBC test. Only after the CBC and on the basis of clinical reports and symptoms, it is determined whether a person is anemic or not.

Therefore, the CBC is the key to move forward. A CBC is a test for counting and examining the different types of cells in the blood. Earlier, CBC assessment was done by a physician or a laboratory technician by viewing a glass slide prepared from a blood sample under a microscope. Now, these tests are mostly automated and done by machines. Six parameters of a CBC test are Red blood cell (RBC) count, Hematocrit, Hemoglobin, White blood cell (WBC) count, differential blood count and Platelet count.

For diagnosis of anemia only the first three of these tests namely the red blood cell (RBC) count, the hematocrit, and the hemoglobin are considered relevant.

Moreover, mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is also often reported in a CBC, which essentially measures the average volume of RBC in a blood sample. This is important in distinguishing the causes of anemia. Units of MCV are reported in femtoliters, a fraction of one millionth of a liter.

Level of Hemoglobin is critical in detection of anemia. Hemoglobin is the iron-bearing and oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells. The normal value for hemoglobin varies by age and gender. Anemia is generally considered when hemoglobin concentrations fall below:

11 g/dL for pregnant women

  • 12 g/dL for non-pregnant women
  • 13 g/dL for men

Mild anemia is considered when hemoglobin is between 9.5 – 13.0 g/dL whereas when hemoglobin is between 8.0 – 9.5 g/dL, it is taken as moderate. Severe anemia is considered for hemoglobin concentrations below 8.0 g/dL.

Hematocrit is the next critical measurement and it is the percentage of blood composed of red blood cells. People with a high volume of plasma (the liquid portion of blood) may be anemic even if their blood count is normal because the blood cells have become diluted. Like hemoglobin, a normal hematocrit percentage depends on age and gender. Anemic ranges for hematocrit are below 39 for adult and below 36 for adult non pregnant women. For adult pregnant women, it is below 33% for being anemic.

Other Iron Status Blood Tests such as Serum Ferritin, Serum Iron are also done to determine the anemic conditions. Ferritin is a protein that binds to iron and helps to store iron in the body. Low levels typically mean reduced iron stores. Normal values are generally 12 – 300 ng/mL for men and 12 – 150 ng/mL for women. Lower than normal levels of ferritin are a sign of iron-deficiency anemia.

Serum iron measures the amount of iron in the blood. A normal serum iron is 60 – 170 mcg/dL. Lower levels may indicate iron-deficiency anemia or anemia of chronic disease, while higher levels may indicate hemolytic anemia or vitamin B12 deficiency.

Sometimes total iron binding capacity (TIBC) is also measured to check the level of transferrin in the blood. Transferrin is a protein that carries iron in the blood. TIBC calculates how much or how little the transferrin in the body is carrying iron. A higher than normal TIBC is a sign of iron-deficiency anemia. A lower than normal level may indicate anemia of chronic disease, sickle cell, pernicious anemia, or hemolytic anemia.