Feature Articles for Medical Professionals
 publishes feature articles for medical professionals diagnosing and treating anemia.
Evidence has shown that anemia prevalence increases as patients grow older, but it and its effect on quality of life should not be considered an inevitability of old age. This is especially true for patients in long-term care facilities who are many times more likely to have anemia than their community-dwelling counterparts. In fact, approximately half of elderly residents in long-term care have anemia. This article discusses the frequency of anemia, the affect it can have on elderly patients in long-term care, and emphasizes the importance of proper and thorough evaluation.
Persons with diabetes and hypertension are at risk for kidney disease which can be progressive, leading to reduced kidney function and even kidney failure. One of the consequences of reduced kidney function can be anemia and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and events. This article discusses the factors which can lead to anemia in patients with diabetes and outlines recommended steps for slowing the progression of kidney disease and the anemia that may be caused by it.
Anemia can be a consequence of nutritional deficiencies or chronic diseases, but it may also occur from the treatment of the disease itself. Several types of drugs have been reported to cause different forms of anemia, including aplastic anemia, megaloblastic anemia, hemolytic anemia, and anemia caused by blood loss, chronic inflammation or suppression of red blood cell production. This article outlines a range of medications which can lead to these types of anemia so that you may be able to prevent or minimize drug-induced cases of anemia.
Bariatric surgery has become a much more common procedure to treat morbidly obese patients in the United States, yet it creates permanent alterations of the digestive tract which can lead to a variety of nutritional consequences. They may develop new or worsen pre-existing iron and vitamin deficiencies, with some patients becoming anemic in the months and years following the procedure. These patients may then be relying on you, their primary care providers, to monitor their nutritional health. This article explains why bariatric surgery patients are prone to developing nutritional deficiencies and what you can do help them avoid anemia.
With the high demands placed on a child’s diet, deficiencies of nutrients like iron can cause considerable effects on his or her growth and ability to perform physically and mentally. Thus it’s up to you to make sure children are not suffering the effects of iron deficiency or anemia and that parents have the information they need to maintain their child’s health. This article outlines key indicators which may signal an iron deficiency or anemia, including the presence of pallor, a poor diet, heavy menstrual bleeding, behavioral indicators and a family history of anemia.
Research in recent years has increased knowledge about hepcidin and its integrated role in the absorption and movement of iron in the body – a breakthrough which has started to provide a more functional view of iron metabolism. Further understanding of how it inhibits the movement of iron and is itself regulated may eventually help clinicians better evaluate a patient’s iron status and may assist in more effective, efficient treatment for anemia of chronic disease.
Conditions of the digestive tract are some of the most common ailments that can cause anemia, often through a variety of mechanisms. They include inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), hepatitis C, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcers, celiac disease, bleeding and post-operative conditions such as resection of the ileum, total gastectomy and gastric bypass surgery. To effectively manage both the underlying condition and anemia, primary care physicians and gastroenterologits must pay close attention to the knowledge patients can impart about their symptoms and state of their health.
Anemia is one of many important lifelong health considerations for women as well as an important U.S. public health issue. The magnitude of the quality of life deficit suffered by women with anemia is frequently underestimated and underappreciated. During National Women's Health Week, encourage women to take control of their health, teach them to recognize and report any anemia-related symptoms, and refer them to information and handouts on anemia.
Of these roughly one million monthly blood donors, about 10% are deferred from donation because their hematocrit level falls below the FDA-mandated threshold of 38%. This deferral may be the first time donors discover that they have anemia or are considered borderline anemic. Concerned about their health and their ability to donate, some deferred donors may consult their doctors and other medical professionals to find out how to raise their blood counts and to check to make sure their anemia is not a signal of a more serious health issue. To help professionals answer patient’s questions about being deferred from blood donation, we've covered information about why a low hematocrit level Leads to deferral, differences in screening tests, and the importance of diagnosing the cause of anemia after deferral.
Heart failure is a major chronic condition, affecting nearly 5 million Americans, with about half a million new cases diagnosed annually. For patients with heart failure, anemia is a common and potentially modifiable comorbidity which has been shown to be an independent risk factor for severe symptoms such as lower functional status, diminished exercise capacity, cognitive impairment, and a lower quality of life. According to Dr. Ileana Piña, a Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, “Anemia is dangerous for patients with heart failure. It may exacerbate cardiovascular disease, making the patient’s situation worse. Anemia in these patients should not be ignored.”
The hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is chronic inflammation and damage to the joints, but RA is a systemic disease that may also cause progressive multi-system inflammation. As a common manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis, affecting 30-60% of patients, anemia should be an important consideration in clinical assessment and management. Additionally, there is evidence that RA patients who are anemic have more severe RA, and also have more affected joints and higher levels of functional disability and pain.
Increasing evidence indicates that anemia is common in the elderly population. It is often considered to be a relatively harmless and a normal part of the aging process, but anemia is neither normal nor harmless and may have far-reaching effects. Clinicians should be aware that anemia in elderly persons is associated with poorer quality of life, significant morbidities, and increased mortality. Failure to recognize and evaluate anemia in the elderly could lead to delayed diagnosis of potentially treatable conditions.
Anemia is an important concern for the surgical patient throughout the entire surgical process and should be viewed as a significant clinical condition, rather than simply an abnormal laboratory value. It is estimated that one-third to one-half of surgical patients may be anemic preoperatively secondary to the conditions for which they require surgery. Yet anemia is commonly unrecognized and overlooked by physicians and surgeons because it often exhibits very non-specific symptoms or no symptoms at all. Recognizing and treating anemia before any elective surgery is extremely important, and could be a life saving intervention.
Iron deficiency is a common medical problem that is often diagnosed by family physicians and treated with oral iron supplements. When a patient is experiencing clinical symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, it is especially important for them to receive and absorb an adequate dose of elemental iron. There are a large number of iron preparations available over-the-counter in many different forms with various amounts of iron, iron salts, complexes, combinations, and dosing regimens. Although readily available, physicians must provide their patients with adequate education to insure that they are choosing the right iron, taking it at the right time, and minimizing the common side effects that can often lead to discontinuation of therapy.