Part 2 Diagnosing and Treatment of Iron Deficiency Anemia.

anemia 2

                bone marrown aspiration needle   Bone_Marrow_Biopsy     

This form of iron deficiency anemia is treated with changes in your diet and iron supplements.

If the underlying cause of iron deficiency is loss of blood — other than from menstruation — the source of the bleeding must be located and stopped. This may involve surgery.

    • Rapid growth cycles (infancy, adolescence)

    • Heavy menstrual bleeding or chronic blood loss from the GI tract

    • Pregnancy

    • Diets that contain insufficient iron (rare in the United States)

    • Breastfed infants who have not started on solid food after six months of age

    • Babies who are given cow’s milk prior to age 12 months

    • Alcoholism 

                                                                                                              *Most often healthy red blood cells last between 90 and 120 days. Parts of your body then remove old blood cells. A hormone called erythropoietin (epo) made in your kidneys signals your bone marrow to make more red blood cells.To first diagnose the person with any anemia the following needs to be done to help the doctor in diagnostic tooling , which is tests to rule out and rule in what the actual problem isn’t or is. With the MD knowing the results of these tests it will guide the doctor knowing the correct diagnosis to use the best treatment to either cure or get the problem under control (Ex. What is curable is iron deficiency anemia but sickle cell anemia is not).*

 *Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying protein inside red blood cells. It gives red blood cells their red color. People with anemia do not have enough hemoglobin.  (Although many parts of the body help make red blood cells, most of the work is done in the bone marrow). Bone marrow is the soft tissue in the center of bones that helps form all blood cells.)*

The diagnosis tests that are usually done by a doctor are the following:                              

Physical exam. During a physical exam, your doctor may listen to your heart and your breathing. Your doctor may also place his or her hands on your abdomen to feel the size of your liver and spleen. He would look at the color of the skin and the eyes to look for paleness.

Blood Tests. Your doctor would do the basis blood tests being a CBC which is used to count the number of blood cells in a sample of your blood. For anemia, your doctor will be interested in the levels of the red blood cells contained in the blood particularly your hematocrit (the solids of the blood) and the hemoglobin (the liguid of your blood) in your bloodstream. If anemic both of these will be low and hematocrit below 7.0 down to 6.0 is critical.

Normal adult hematocrit values vary from one medical practice to another but are generally between 40 and 52 percent for men and 35 and 47 percent for women. Normal adult hemoglobin values are generally 14 to 18 grams per deciliter for men and 12 to 16 grams per deciliter for women.

****Additional testing maybe ordered as well; like the following to help determine what the person has with the what treatment to tell the MD is needed to help the individual get better.

This could be: . A test to determine the size and shape of your red blood cells. Some of your red blood cells may also be examined for unusual size, shape and color. Doing so can help pinpoint a diagnosis. For example, in iron deficiency anemia, red blood cells are smaller and paler in color than normal. In vitamin deficiency anemias, red blood cells are enlarged and fewer in number

If you receive a diagnosis of anemia, your doctor may order additional tests to determine the underlying cause. For example, iron deficiency anemia can result from chronic bleeding of ulcers, benign polyps in the colon, colon cancer, tumors or kidney problems.

Occasionally, it may be necessary to study a sample of your bone marrow to diagnose anemia (see diagram above showing you one area a bone marrow aspiration could be done; another common area is the the hip but the size of the needle in length and needle opening the same size basically).  This test common in inherited anemia’s and cancerous anemia’s.  REMEMBER the bone makes all our cells and if our bone marrow is affected by an anemia your bone marrow will be effected possibly but if a cancer especially a bone cancer the bone marrow will show decrease in normal cells and show cancerous cells replacing them if a bone marrow aspiration is done; not that iron deficiency anemia is cancerous but could show decrease of  normal cells.  Usually a bone marrow is done in helping to diagnose an anemia difficult to determine.****

Treatment for iron-deficiency anemia will depend on its cause and severity. Treatments may include dietary changes and supplements, medicines, and surgery.  Most importantly determination of the individual diagnosed with it to make changes and STICK to those changes in your diet with supplements, medicines the MD may need you to do.  It is up to the patient to  determine where they will go with properly treating themselves after the MD diagnoses it and treats it.  They need to make the changes not the doctor.  It is called being compliant in caring for yourself with you diagnosis or if lucky, preventing it from happening again. 

Severe iron-deficiency anemia may require a blood transfusion, iron injections, or intravenous (IV) iron therapy. Treatment may need to be done in a hospital.

The goals of treating iron-deficiency anemia are to treat its underlying cause and restore normal levels of red blood cells, hemoglobin, and iron.

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