Anemia: Types and Treatment Options
Anemia treatment will depend on the cause and type of anemia you have. The goal of anemia treatment is to increase the red blood cell count or hemoglobin level. This, in turn, increases amount of oxygen that your blood can carry.
Iron deficiency anemia
Treatment for this kind of anemia involves taking iron supplements and making changes to your diet. Diets that include the following foods can help treat iron deficiency anemia:
- Dark green, leafy vegetables
- Dried fruits
- Iron-fortified cereals
Additionally, vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. If you’re taking iron supplement, a doctor might suggest taking it along with a source of vitamin C, for example a glass of orange juice or citrus fruit.
Vitamin deficiency anemia
The treatment for this type of anemia involves taking dietary supplements and increasing the consumption of folic acid and vitamin B12 in your diet.
If your digestive system has trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from the food you eat, you may need vitamin B12 shots. At first, you may receive the shots every other day. Eventually, you’ll need shots just once a month, which may continue for life, depending on your condition.
Anemia of chronic disease
This is the second most prevalent after anemia caused by iron deficiency. ACD commonly occurs with chronic illness or infections such as viral infections, including HIV, autoimmune diseases. Doctors will focus on treating the underlying disease.
If your anemia is due to a chronic disease, treatment of the underlying disease will often improve the anemia. Under some circumstances, such as chronic kidney disease, your doctor may prescribe medication such as erythropoietin to stimulate your bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.
Treatment for this anemia may include blood transfusions to boost levels of red blood cells. You may need a bone marrow transplant if your bone marrow is infected or can’t make healthy blood cells.
Treating hemolytic anemia involves avoiding suspect medications, treating related infections and taking drugs that suppress your immune system, which may be attacking your red blood cells.
Depending on the severity of your anemia, a blood transfusion or plasmapheresis may be necessary. Plasmapheresis is a treatment that removes plasma from your blood. In certain cases, removal of the liquid can be helpful.
Sickle cell anemia
Treatment for anemia includes oxygen therapy, pain relieving-drugs, and intravenous fluids to reduce pain and prevent complications. Doctors also may recommend antibiotics, blood transfusions, and folic acid supplements.