Treatment for Anemia Dependent on the Cause

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Anemia is the most common blood condition in America, and experts say finding the source is critical to treatment.

"Anemia is any condition where you have low red blood cells," Dr. Erin Fleener with the Cancer Clinic said.

It's one of the most common blood disorders and affects about 3.5 million Americans.

Some of the causes of anemia can stem from deficiencies in iron, B12, folate and other different vitamins.

"If they are B12 deficient or if they are iron deficient, sometimes we can give them dietary recommendations that they can actually improve their anemia without having to go on all sorts of medicine," Fleener said.

However, doctors say in the vast majority of cases they see, patients need iron supplements or B12 injections. Officials say in these cases, diet alone can not fix the problem. That's why health experts say getting to the root of the anemia is key.

"It's important to find out why they are anemic and so then you can do things to take care of it, that's probably more important than prevention," Fleener said.

Symptoms of anemia include feeling tired or weak, short of breath, or the whites of the eyes becoming more pale or white.

Diagnosis can be fairly simple: a CBC, or complete blood count test, can give results in a matter of minutes.

"That would tell you what all of their blood cells are doing, white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets, and so you would be able to tell immediately that their anemic just based on that test," Fleener said.

Doctors say quick results allow them focus on the more important question: the cause.