Anemia makes you feel run down and fatigued, and in some cases can be an indication of a more serious health issue. Meade Edmunds, MD, and his team at Edmunds Gastroenterology in Knoxville, Tennessee, have extensive experience in diagnosing the cause of anemia and prescribing the most effective treatments. To find out whether you’re anemic and how to feel better, call the office today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online.
Anemia is when a patient has a low hemoglobin or inadequate red blood cell count from numerous possible causes including, but not limited to:
Blood loss can be caused by conditions such as colon cancer, stomach cancer, ulcers anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract, or other sites of obscured bleeding, such as from arterial venous malformations.
If a person has trouble with malabsorption from conditions such as celiac disease, which interferes with iron absorption, the lack of nutrients may result in anemia as well as vitamin B12, folate, zinc, or iron deficiency.
Diseases of the bone marrow, including leukemia and infiltrative disease such as cancer or amaroid, may result in anemia. This can also result in abnormal red blood cells, which are destroyed once they’ve been made and released into your bloodstream. The destruction of these cells is called hemolytic anemia, and this can occur from drugs and medical conditions like hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Due to there being fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, anemia may cause symptoms such as:
Some patients may also experience cravings for unusual foods, such as ice.
Anemia is diagnosed by a combination of tests including labs, endoscopy, X-rays such as CT scans, or bleeding scans. Stool cards can test stool for the presence of blood, and CologuardⓇ testing looks for evidence of DNA from precancerous polyps or colon cancer.
Anemia is treated by defining the cause of the anemia and treating the underlying cause. Peptic ulcer disease may require medicines or thermal ablation, while other sites of bleeding in the GI tract may require endoscopic or radiographic intervention as well.
Blood transfusions may be necessary in the most severe form of anemia in order to get the blood count high enough to prevent other complications, such as stroke or heart attack. Iron supplementations helps to replace low iron levels, and this can be given by mouth or intravenously.
Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron, so vitamin C is often given with iron supplementations. Use of antacid and acid suppressant medicines, including both H2 blockers (PepcidⓇ, ZantacⓇ) and proton pump inhibitors (PrilosecⓇ, NexiumⓇ) can interfere with iron absorption.
To arrange a consultation where you can discuss any symptoms of anemia, call Edmunds Gastroenterology today, or book an appointment online.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please consult with your primary care physician or a specialist regarding your symptoms.