Anemia is a condition of having fewer red blood cells within your body. This indicates that your blood has less than the normal hemoglobin (Hgb) levels. Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen to all the cells inside your body and it is part of red blood cells (RBC). This condition is a side effect of cancer.
This can occur due to various reasons such as cancer treatment like radiation or chemotherapy, blood loss, lack of certain vitamins or minerals in your diet due to less eating, low iron levels in the blood, major organ problems, chronic kidney disease, and others. Side effects like nausea or vomiting caused due to chemotherapy or anti-cancer treatment can be treated using apretero 80 mg.
The condition of anemia is treated based on the cause and the symptoms. The treatment of anemia might delay your cancer treatment at sometimes till your red blood cells get restored. Anemia is treated for two main objectives which are:
- Treating the cause of the anemia
- To increase the hemoglobin levels such that symptoms improve
The factors like your test results, symptoms, duration of their occurrence, the type of cancer, and cancer treatment will be examined by your doctor before starting your treatment. The right treatment will be selected for you depending on these factors. If the possible benefits of the treatment outweigh the risks, then it is followed through. Let’s learn about the common treatments of anemia as follows:
In case your iron levels are low, you might get advised by your doctor to take iron pills or receive iron through your veins (iron infusion). But the iron infusions have the risk of getting allergic infections. You can discuss it with your doctor to get clear on which form of iron is suitable for you. You should start eating more iron-rich foods. Iron in foods is of two types viz., heme and non-heme.
Heme iron is generally found in animal products. The heme iron is easily absorbed as compared to non-heme iron. Some of the foods that consist of heme iron are red meat, fatty fish; and chicken and turkey.
Non-heme iron is usually found in plant-based foods. Some of the examples of food containing non-heme iron are dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens or chard, beans and lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, dried fruits like raisins, apricots and peaches; and the enriched pasta and rice.
A blood cell transfusion is a very common method of treating anemia in cancer patients who are suffering from cancer. This helps make patients feel better and provide oxygen to the necessary organs. Blood transfusions are very effective in treating the symptoms. But sometimes it provides only temporary relief that depends on the cause of the anemia.
If you need to do a blood transfusion, it is determined by the severity of your symptoms and your hemoglobin level. When your hemoglobin level reaches a certain number or when your symptoms become unbearable, then the transfusion might be done.
In blood transfusion, you require matching donated blood to your blood. The blood that is used must be tested for safety and the blood should be of the same kind. But blood transfusions include various risks as follows:
- Transfusion reactions: These reactions occur when your immune system starts attacking proteins on the foreign blood cells. It often appears like an allergic reaction. But these reactions are minor and are easily treatable. Although, other times they might become serious.
- Transfusion-related lung injury: This risk is very much serious as it causes trouble in breathing and you must go to the hospital for treatment.
- Get exposed to certain germs, like hepatitis B or C virus: The risk of infections can happen due to blood transfusion, but it can be managed by careful blood testing and screening.
- Transfusion-related circulatory overload (TACO): This situation occurs when the blood is given too quickly and your heart cannot handle it.
- Iron overload: When you go through many blood transfusions, it can lead to an increased amount of iron which then requires treatment.
Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs)
Anemia can be treated using some drugs that inform your body to create more red blood cells in some patients. ESAs work like a hormone called erythropoietin. It is created by the kidneys that help your body make new red blood cells. You will require to learn about the risks and benefits of the drug which is recommended. This must be done as it can cause serious side effects. But they can still assist in getting chemotherapy and gaining higher levels of hemoglobin levels, resulting in fewer blood transfusions. This then improves the condition of anemia.
ESAs are usually given in the form of shots under your skin. How much time they take to start working depends on the patients. Always discuss the possible risks and benefits of ESA before receiving them.
Home Remedies for Treating Anemia
Besides going for the medical ways for treating anemia, you can also follow some home remedies to support your healing. You can cut off unnecessary activities and focus on balancing them with proper rest. Also, you can notice when your symptoms occur and which things affect them the most, making them worse or better. Moreover, always plan your important activities to save your energy. Diet also plays an important role, so eat more protein i.e., foods like fish, meat, eggs, cheese, milk, nuts, peas, and beans. Also, add more iron foods to your diet. Lastly, you should also drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day.