Two nurses drawing blood from a smiling patient.
May 9, 2016
Anemia is the term doctors and nurses use when a person has too few red blood cells. Red blood cells are the cells in your blood that carry oxygen. If you have too few red blood cells, your body does not get all the oxygen it needs.
Generally speaking, having too few blood cells means the patient is suffering from a dietary deficiency with lack of iron intake and acute or chronic blood loss which might be occurring from recurrent hemorrhage involving the stomach and/or large intestine.
Many people, however, have no symptoms and decreased hemoglobin is detected by routine complete blood count (CBC). Conversely, those who do have symptoms might experience fatigue, especially if they try to exercise or walk upstairs, have headaches, or recurrent unexplained episodes of dizziness.
Your doctor or nurse can test your blood for anemia and in most cases will do so as a precautionary study.
In women, chronic blood loss is often tied to heavy menses (periods). In men, as well as women who are post-menopausal (no longer having periods), blood loss can reflect gastric ulceration and/or inflammatory diseases involving the large intestine.
Dr. Bill Crowell, Pathologist at Grady Memorial Hospital states, "Intensive evaluation of the gastrointestinal tract may require gastroscopy and/or colonoscopy where visual inspection is accomplished and location of bleeding sites are readily identified."
Dr. Crowell adds "Whatever the cause of your anemia, your doctor or nurse can treat you appropriately meaning with B-12 or folate therapy as well as addressing your dietary intake of iron. With severe anemia, however, you may need a blood transfusion."
Grady Memorial Hospital and Five Oaks Medical Group have onsite laboratory services and are accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP). Promptly performed laboratory studies will tell you and your physician whether or not you are suffering from anemia. For more information regarding our various services, call 405-224-2300.