What Is Anemia?
Our red blood cells carry the oxygen we inhale from our lungs to the rest of the body. These cells do this with the help of hemoglobin, a protein in these cells that holds onto oxygen. Our metabolism relies on oxygen to most effectively harness energy for normal cellular functions. Anemia occurs when we either do not have enough hemoglobin or do not have enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen properly. This explains some of the common symptoms associated with anemia that we will outline later.
Anemia Causes and Management
There are many different forms of anemia, and each has its own cause. For example, iron deficiency anemia is a result of the body not having enough iron to produce enough healthy red blood cells. Another common type of anemia occurs in patients with chronic kidney disease. If you have anemia, it is important to discuss with your physician which type you have and develop a personalized plan for how to best address its management.
It is important to also discuss all of your options for managing anemia with your doctor to help make the decision that best fits your needs. Some important factors to consider when deciding on an anemia management plan include
- Your age, health, and lifestyle.
- Any other serious health conditions you have.
- Your feelings about the need to treat anemia right away.
- Your doctor’s opinion about if you need to treat anemia right away.
- The likelihood that treatment will help manage your anemia.
- Possible side effects from each treatment method.
You may feel the need to make a quick decision, but it’s very important to ask questions if there is anything about which you are not sure. It’s very important for you and your doctor to communicate and work together to weigh the benefits of each treatment option against the possible adverse side effects and to ultimately determine which treatment option is best for you.
How Is Anemia Detected?
Our specialists collect information regarding medical history, surgical history, social history, and family history; conduct laboratory testing; and review radiological studies to approach patient care in the most comprehensive and personalized manner.
Anemia may be detected with the help of routine blood testing. The blood test normally used to assess for anemia is known as the “Complete Blood Count.” This test will allow the doctor to determine if you have enough red blood cells and hemoglobin. Your doctor will likely also order another test, known as an “Iron Panel,” to determine if iron deficiency is present. Lastly, a bone marrow biopsy may be considered to understand if anemia is related to an underlying bone marrow process, such as a myelodysplastic syndrome.
Signs and Symptoms of Anemia
The following may be indicative of anemia but may also be indicative of other illnesses:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath
- Pale or yellowish appearance
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Cold hands and/or feet
- Headaches or migraines
It is important you tell your doctor if you have any of these signs and symptoms, so he or she may determine their cause and plan treatment, if necessary.
NYCBS Clinical Trials in Anemia
Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that are done to get a closer look at promising new treatments or procedures. Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art treatment methods. Sometimes they may be the only way to get access to newer treatments. They are also the best way for doctors to learn how to better treat disease. If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for you, contact New York Cancer and Blood Specialist today at (855) 528-7322 to learn more.