Managing Anemia: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Collaboration

Anemia, marked by low red blood cell count or hemoglobin levels, affects millions globally, primarily due to iron deficiency. Diagnosis involves routine exams and complete blood count (CBC) testing, with further assessments necessary to pinpoint the type and cause. Microcytic anemia, characterized by small red blood cells, often indicates iron deficiency and requires additional tests like serum ferritin. Normocytic anemia, featuring normal-sized cells, may stem from chronic disease or acute bleeding, prompting evaluations like reticulocyte counts. Macrocytic anemia, with larger cells, is typically linked to deficiencies in vitamin B12 or folate, often associated with malabsorption or alcoholism. Treatment targets the underlying cause, such as iron or vitamin supplementation.

Managing anemia in primary care entails identifying its root cause using patient history, physical exams, and CBC results. Educating patients about anemia signs, diagnostics, and treatment is essential, tailored to specific types and causes. Collaboration between primary care providers and specialists ensures comprehensive care, with personalized treatment plans for each patient.

Reference: O’Neil J. Diagnosing and Classifying Anemia in Adult Primary Care. ​Clinician Reviews. 2016;26(1), 29-34.

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