Anemia is Diagnosed and Treated by Hematologists at Mercy

Medical Oncology at Mercy - Baltimore

The National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute reports that more than 3 million people in the United States have the blood disorder anemia. Our medical oncologists at Medical Oncology and Hematology at Mercy diagnose and treat a range of blood disorders including anemia.

About the Condition

Anemia is a blood disorder that occurs when the blood does not have enough red blood cells, also called hemoglobin. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to other areas of the body. When the red blood cells are low they lack oxygen, causing the organs not to function properly and leaving a feeling of fatigue. Women and people with chronic conditions are at the greatest risk for anemia.

Types of Anemia

There are many different forms of anemia and each with different causes. The most common type of anemia is iron deficiency. Other types of anemia include:

  • Vitamin deficiency anemia
  • Anemia of chronic disease
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Thalassemia
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Blood marrow disease anemia

Risk Factors for Anemia

Certain risk factors may increase the chances of getting anemia:

  • Diet that is low in vitamin B-12, folate and iron
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Heavy menstrual cycle
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic diseases of the kidney, liver, thyroid, Crohn’s disease and cancer
  • Genetics
NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Anemia symptoms are slow to develop. Early on, the anemia symptoms may be nonexistent. However, when symptoms do progress, they may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • Numbness or coldness in the hands and feet
  • Low body temperature
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain

To test for anemia, your doctor will perform a physical exam as well as discuss nutrition, medications, and obtain a family history. A Complete Blood Count (CBC) blood test also will be recommended.

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Treatment for anemia will depend on the type of anemia. Severe cases of anemia may require a blood transfusion or surgery. Some common treatment options include:

  • Adding vitamins and iron supplements
  • Revising  nutrition plan
  • Altering medications