Ocean Hematology & Oncology Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders
A Symptom, Not A Disease Are you anemic? You don’t have the energy you used to have. You are getting tired easily; many routine day-to-day tasks are getting more difficult. Others are noticing that you look pale; you want to sleep day and night… Chances are, you may be anemic. Anemia is not a disease in itself, rather a symptom of some other underlying ailments. This could be something as simple as a deficiency of iron or other nutritional supplements or less commonly, a major illness such as cancer or bone marrow disorders. What is anemia? There are three types of cells in our blood. Red cells (RBCs), White cells or (WBCs) and Platelets. Red cells contain a red pigment called hemoglobin that carries oxygen to the different parts of the body. White cells help to fight infection. Platelets help to prevent bleeding. Anemia is a condition in which the number of healthy red cells (RBCs) in the blood is low. This results in reduced oxygen supply to different parts of the body. When this is severe, it can cause difficulty in breathing, fatigue, dizziness and lightheadedness. It can diminish the oxygen supply to the heart muscles and can lead to heart attacks. Reduced oxygen to the brain can lead to syncope (fainting). What causes anemia? Anemia can be caused by either a defect of production of red cells from the bone marrow or excessive loss of blood/blood cells. • Iron or B12 deficiency: Blood cells are mainly made inside the bone marrow. (Marrow is the red juicy material inside the bones). Certain nutrients are needed for the production of blood cells; especially RBCs. Iron is a component of the red pigment hemoglobin. In addition, vitamins like vitamin B12 and folic acid are also needed to make blood cells. Deficiency in the diet or poor absorption of iron and B12 can lead to anemia. • Hemolytic anemia: If there is excessive destruction of blood cells a process caused hemolysis, it leads to anemia. This can be hereditary, such as sickle cell anemia, Thalassemia (Meditaranean anemia) or acquired, such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia. In the latter, our body makes an antibody against our own red cells and it destroys the red cells in circulation. • Bone Marrow Diseases: If there are abnormal cells in the bone marrow, due to leukemia or other types of cancers, production of blood cells will be suppressed. Aplastic Anemia is a condition where the production of all blood cells, including red, white and platelets are markedly diminished. • Anemia from blood loss: If you have excessive blood loss (heavy menstrual cycles, bleeding ulcers, polyps or tumors in the stomach and intestines), it can lead to anemia as your bone marrow may not be able to keep up with the extent of blood loss. • Anemia of chronic dis-ease: Certain diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, cancer and chronic infection can suppress the bone marrow and lead to decreased production of blood cells. Diagnosing Anemia A simple blood test (CBC) can tell you if you are anemic. It measures the hemoglobin and the hematocrit. Normal hemoglobin varies from 12-15 gms in women and 13.5 to 17.5 in men. These normal ranges vary slightly depending on the laboratory. You can also measure the levels of iron, B12 and foliate in the blood. After these preliminary blood tests, you may be referred to a Hematologist (Blood specialist) who can per-form additional tests, including a bone marrow evaluation.
Compassionate Care, Close to Home We offer a full range of Hematology and Oncology services. We are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art cancer care in a warm and personalized manner. Our newly renovated, spacious infusion room provides a peaceful and friendly atmosphere to patients while they receive chemotherapy and other infusions. We have a highly qualified, experienced and compassionate staff.
www.OceanHemOnc.com Easily Accessible Location!
1255 Route 70, 31S Near Exit 88 on GSP
Lakewood, NJ 08701 Accepts Most Insurances. Affiliated with Kimball Medical Center and Community Hospital Access to Clinical Trials.
What is the treatment of Anemia? Treatment of anemia depends on the cause. Taking iron pills or B12 can treat iron and B12 deficiency. In cases of unexplained iron deficiency, you have to look for occult causes of bleeding, especially from the stomach and intestines. An endoscopy and colonoscopy becomes essential in such cases, especially, if you are 50 or older. Anemia from other causes can be improved by treating the underlying illness. Role of ESAs (erythrocyte stimulating agents): A hormone called erythropoietin made by the kidneys stimulates the production of red cells from the bone marrow. This is now commercially available as Procrit/ Aranesp injections and is used to treat certain types of anemia. These drugs should only be used under the supervision of a Hematologist or other physicians familiar with their use.
The County Woman Magazine www.TheCountyWoman.com
Sarah J. Easaw MD, FACP
Diplomate of the American Board of Hematology, Oncology & Internal Medicine
Published on Jun 29, 2017
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