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Anemia – Treatments and Drugs

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Anemia therapy will be contingent or dependent on the severity, cause and type of the anemia you have. Treatments that can be considered can include surgery for treating loss of blood, procedures, medicines, dietary supplements and changes and alternative therapy such as acupuncture.

Aims of Therapy

Anemia treatment primarily is to address the lack of oxygen the red blood cells carry. The objective is to raise the red blood cell count and/or the level of hemoglobin which is the protein residing in red blood cells that conveys oxygen to the body. Another objective is to treat the root cause of the anemia.

Dietary Supplements and Changes

Certain types of anemia are due to low iron content in the body. This can be due to certain conditions or diseases or to a diet low in iron content. To increase iron the thing to do is to take iron or vitamin supplements and adding iron-rich foods to your diet. Typical supplements include folate (folic acid) and vitamin B12. In order for the body to absorb iron efficiently, vitamin C intake is recommended.


Iron is needed by the body to create hemoglobin. Meats have iron that is easily absorbable than iron content in vegetables or other foods. The doctor can recommend you taking in more meat particularly red meat like liver or beef and other protein rich foods like shellfish, fish, pork, turkey and chicken among others.

Iron rich foods that are non-meat include:

  • Iron-added breads and cereals
  • Prune juice
  • Dried fruits like apricots, raisins and prunes
  • Peas like chickpeas, soybeans and baked beans (red and white) and lentils
  • Tofu
  • Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, Chinese cabbage, etc.

You can also take iron supplements if you’d rather take in iron this way. Iron supplements are often integrated in multivitamins and other minerals that facilitate iron absorption by your body.

For premature babies, infants and young kids physicians may recommend drinking a lot of cow’s milk or better yet their own mother’s milk.

Note: Too much iron in the body is bad so only take the right amount of iron which the physician prescribes.

Vitamin B12 – Pernicious anemia is due to the lack of vitamin B12 in the body. This can easily be corrected by taking in vitamin B12 supplements. Great sources of vit B12 can include:

  • Foods enriched with vitamin B12 (veggie burgers and soy-based beverages)
  • Diary products like cheese, yogurt and milk; eggs
  • Meats like fish, poultry, liver and beef
  • Breakfast cereals enriched with vit B12

Folic Acid – Also called folate is one type of vit B that certain foods possess. Since the body needs to constantly replenish itself with new cells after the old and diseased ones have died off, it needs a constant supply of folate.  This specific vitamin is also much needed by pregnant women since it prevents them from developing anemia and enables the fetus to develop normally. Some foods rich in folate include:

  • Orange; orange juice and other types of juices and fruits; bananas
  • Eggs
  • Liver (from beef)
  • Dried beans and black-eyed peas
  • Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach
  • Rice, pasta and bread fortified with folic acid

Vitamin C – This type of vitamin facilitates iron absorption by the body.  Valuable sources of vit C include:

  • Tangerines
  • Grapefruits
  • Oranges
  • All kinds of citrus foods
  • Cantaloupes
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi fruit

Vegetables rich in vit C include:

  • Spinach
  • Turnip greens
  • Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli

Medicines – There are drugs and procedures that actually stimulate your body to produce more red blood cells or to address the root problem of anemia. These drugs and procedures can include:

  • Chelation therapy – This is a treatment to address lead poisoning and is primarily used on children who suffer from iron-deficiency anemia
  • Drugs to restrict the body’s immune system from killing its own red blood cells
  • Synthetic erythropoietin that stimulates the body to create more red blood cells – This synthetic hormone has certain risks but not as severe that outweigh its benefits.
  • Antibiotics – For addressing infections
  • Hormones that prevent severe menstrual bleeding in certain


For severe anemia, the doctor may perform certain clinical procedures like marrow and blood stem cell transplants and blood transfusions.

Marrow and Blood Stem Cell Transplant – This procedure removes problem stem cells in your body and replaces it with healthy ones from a donor. Stem cells mature into platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells and are found in bone marrows. The transplant procedure is similar to a typical blood transfusion but you get stem cells that upon entering the body travel to the bone marrow and immediately start to produce new blood cells.

Blood Transfusion – This is a procedure where new blood is added in your body through intravenous line injected into your veins. This procedure entails getting the right type of your blood from a donor with your same blood type.


Surgery is done on patients suffering from life threatening and severe anemic symptoms. If you have colon cancer or uncontained hemorrhaging, you may need to undergo surgery. Also, if your body is killing a substantial number of red blood cells, you may need surgery to have your spleen extracted.

Alternative Therapy


Acupuncture can be an effective mode of treatment for addressing the underlying cause of anemia.  If the cause of your anemia is due to deficiency in your nutrition, acupuncture can be performed combined with dietary modification to help enhance nutrient absorption by reinforcing and improving the intestine lining. If your anemia is due to hemoglobin or red blood cell inadequacy acupuncture will be utilized to stimulate the bone marrow to increase the production of red blood cells.

Eastern Healing Solutions, LLC
10875 Grandview Dr #2250
Overland Park, KS 66210
Phone: (913) 549-4322

Written by Valerie

November 3rd, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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