Anemia is not a specific illness, but simply means that you have fewer red blood cells than normal. Anemia is very common and can result from a number of different causes. The red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. With anemia, one may feel weak. Anemia may also put a strain on the heart other vital organs.
Anemia can last a short time or be a long-term condition. Your symptoms can vary greatly depending on the type of anemia you have.
The most common symptoms of anemia include:
- Shortness of breath, especially with exertion
The University of Miami Health System hematologists work with you to determine the cause of your anemia and ensure you get the treatment you need.
Blood tests are the main test used to diagnose anemia. Your doctor will check for red blood cells in a blood sample to diagnose the condition.
Bone Marrow Biopsy
In some cases, your doctor may want to study your bone marrow to look for causes of anemia. For this test, your doctor will use a large needle to take a sample of your bone marrow to study in a lab.
Endoscopy or Colonoscopy
Sometimes anemia is caused by bleeding in the digestive tract. Your doctor may want to check for causes of bleeding using a special, lighted camera (scope). The scope is either placed down your throat (endoscopy) or through your rectum (colonoscopy). You will be sedated during both procedures.
The treatment of anemia will depend on the cause. Below are some possibilities.
If anemia is caused by an iron deficiency, your doctor may give you iron supplements as pills to help improve your red blood cell count. Your doctor may also give you intravenous iron.
Anemia can also be caused by deficiencies of vitamins, such as folic acid or vitamin B12. Your doctor may give you these specific vitamins to help treat these types of anemia.
Some types of anemia cannot be fixed with supplements. Instead, you may need regular blood transfusions to ensure you have the healthy blood cells you need.
If your immune system is attacking your red blood cells, immunosuppressants can help stop your body from destroying your blood cells.
Depending on the type or cause of anemia, more specific treatment may be prescribed.
Why Choose UHealth?
Advanced, comprehensive hematology care. Our large team of expert hematologists provide the care you need to manage blood disorders and treat blood cancers. We offer convenient care — with treatment available at multiple locations — and use innovative, personalized treatments to help improve your health and quality of life.
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