Anemia can be associated with other medical conditions such as hemorrhage, ulcers, menstrual problems, or cancer. The body is usually able to compensate for early anemia, if your anemia is mild or has developed over a long period of time you may not notice the symptoms.
The symptoms of anemia can and do vary accord to the specific type of anemia you may suffer from or the underlying case of the anemia. Here we will discuss the types of anemia often associated with sanguinarian vampires.
To diagnose anemia, your doctor will likely take your medical history, perform a physical exam, and order laboratory tests. You can help by providing detailed answers about your symptoms, family medical history, diet, medications you take, alcohol intake, and ethnic background. Your doctor will look for symptoms of anemia and other physical clues that might point to a cause.
Blood tests will not only confirm the diagnosis of anemia but also help point to the underlying condition. One of the most basic tests is a complete blood count (CBC), which determines the number, size, volume, and hemoglobin content of red blood cells.
If initial studies point to iron deficiency, your doctor may check your blood iron level and your serum ferritin level, the best indicator of your body's total iron stores. Your doctor may also measure your blood levels of vitamin B-12 and folate. Only in rare cases will a doctor need to remove a sample of bone marrow to determine the cause of your anemia.
Special blood tests can detect rare causes of anemia, such as an immune attack on your red blood cells, red blood cell fragility, and defects of enzymes, hemoglobin, and clotting.
If your doctor suspects hemolytic anemia, tests can identify the breakdown products of red blood cells in your blood and urine.
Anemia caused by iron deficiency
Hunger for strange substances such as paper, ice, or dirt (a condition called pica)
Upward curvature of the nails
Soreness of the mouth with cracks at the corners
Anemia caused by vitamin B-12 deficiency
A tingling, "pins and needles" sensation in the hands or feet
Loss of sense of touch
Loss of smell
A wobbly gait and difficulty walking
Clumsiness and stiffness of the arms and legs
Hallucinations, paranoia, and schizophrenia
Anemia caused by decreased red blood cell production
Iron deficiency anemia
Your doctor will probably recommend iron supplements that contain the ferrous form of iron, which your body can absorb easily. Timed-release iron supplements are not a good choice for most people because iron is primarily absorbed in the upper part of the digestive tract.
CAUTION: Always consult with your doctor before taking iron supplements. Excess iron intake can be harmful. Symptoms of iron overload include fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, irritability, and joint problems.
CAUTION: Iron supplements -- like all supplements and any medication -- should be kept out of the reach of children. Iron poisoning is the most common cause of accidental poisoning in young children. Very few tablets can prove fatal in a matter of hours. Symptoms of poisoning in a child include dizziness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Seek medical help immediately.
Side Effects: You may need to continue taking iron supplements for up to one year. Taking iron supplements with food can help prevent common side effects, which may include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain. Let your doctor know if you continue to have side effects. Different formulations are available.
Iron supplements can also interact with other medications you may take, so be certain to tell your doctor if you are being treated for another condition.
Your doctor may also recommend that you increase the amount of iron in your diet. Good dietary sources of iron include red meat, beans, egg yolk, whole-grain products, nuts, and seafood.
Your doctor will monitor your red blood cell counts including hematocrit, hemoglobin, and ferritin levels during treatment. If your anemia doesn't improve with iron supplements, your doctor will look for some other underlying cause. In rare cases, your doctor may prescribe iron injections or give you iron intravenously (through a needle in the vein). In extremely rare cases of life-threatening iron-deficiency anemia, treatment may involve blood transfusion.
Vitamin B-12 and folate deficiency anemia
If your body stores are depleted of vitamin B-12, your doctor will most likely prescribe vitamin B-12 injections and may also recommend high doses of B-12 supplements or a B-12 nasal spray. There is a good chance that many of the symptoms of deficiency will improve once the body is provided with the needed B-12.
Most people with vitamin B-12 deficiency have a permanent inability to absorb vitamin B-12 and will need injections every one to three months for the rest of their lives.
Your doctor may also recommend that you increase the amount of vitamin B-12 in your diet. Good dietary sources of vitamin B-12 are meat, liver, and kidney; fish, oyster, and clams; and milk, cheese, and eggs.
If you have a folate deficiency, your doctor will prescribe folate supplements and may recommend you increase the amount of folate in your diet. Good dietary sources of folate include fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts), liver and kidney, dairy products, and whole grain cereals. Vegetables should be eaten raw or lightly cooked.