Treatment depends on what is causing the anemia. Generally, the disorder improves or disappears when the cause is eliminated. This will mean correcting a food deficiency, stopping a drug, or treating the disease or infection that may be causing the condition. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor before stopping any medication.
If you have a vitamin deficiency, the recommendation will be to increase the amount of this vitamin in your diet. For mild anemia, a modification to your diet may be the only recommendation.
|Foods that are good sources of iron
||Foods that are good sources of vitamin B12
||Foods that are good sources of folic acid
- red meat and giblets
- clams and oysters
- tofu and legumes (e.g., kidney beans and chick peas)
- green vegetables (e.g., spinach and asparagus)
- whole-grain breads and cereals
- meat and poultry
- fish and seafood (e.g., clams and oysters)
- dairy products (e.g., milk, cheese and yogurt)
- legumes (e.g., beans, soybeans and lentils)
- green vegetables (e.g., spinach, asparagus and Brussels sprouts)
- orange juice
- nuts and seeds (almonds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds)
If your blood tests show low levels of vitamin B12, folic acid or iron, your doctor may also prescribe vitamin supplements to correct your deficiency and help you replenish your reserves. You need to take these supplements regularly for the prescribed duration and have your ordered blood tests done to make sure your treatment is effective.
For example, iron supplements
are available in the form of tablets, capsules or liquids. Be careful with liquid iron, which can stain your teeth. You should therefore mix it in a small glass of juice or water, drink it with a straw, and then drink something else after. Most iron supplements must be taken on an empty stomach to increase their effectiveness. You can also take them with a glass of orange juice, as vitamin C increases their absorption. Iron supplements can turn your stool black and cause constipation. You will need to increase the amount of water and fibre in your diet, unless contraindicated.
Unlike iron supplements, vitamin B12 and folic acid
supplements cause few to no side effects.
You may need to get vitamin injections, for example, if you aren’t absorbing oral supplements well. You may also need blood transfusions
depending on the severity of your anemia and your symptoms.
For anemia in which the bone marrow can’t produce enough red blood cells, you may need to take a medication that acts like erythropoietin (Eprex™, Aranesp™). Erythropoietin is a natural hormone produced mainly by the kidneys that contributes to the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. These medications are used to treat chronic renal failure when the amount of erythropoietin produced by the body is insufficient.
If you suffer from anemia, you will need to rest until your condition goes away or is controlled. Don’t hesitate to talk to your pharmacist, who is here to answer your questions.