Anemia, as defined by MedicineNet.com, is “a condition where the red blood cell count is less than normal.” Red blood cells work by carrying Oxygen throughout the body; they also contain Hemoglobin, – This allows the cells to carry the Oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Like most cells, red blood cells are made in bone marrow. In order to produce red blood cells (which contain Hemoglobin), the body needs a number of things, one being Iron. There are different types and causes of Anemia, one of the most common types being Iron Deficiency (Anemia).
Because your body needs Iron to make Hemoglobin, being Iron deficient can prevent your body from producing an adequate amount (of Red Blood Cells/ Hemoglobin). – This is the condition I currently have; however, before I had surgery to have my Colon removed, I suffered from Anemia due to Blood Loss (because of all of the internal blood loss from years active Ulcerative Colitis). My case was so severe at the time I actually had to get two emergency blood transfusions. Regardless of cause, Anemia can be a very serious condition and without proper treatment it can do great damage to the body.
Symptoms of Anemia can include: weakness and fatigue, chest pain, paleness of skin, shortness of breath, dizzy/lightheadedness, irregular heartbeat and more! It is estimated that over 3 million people in the US alone suffer from some form of Anemia. Do you also suffer from Anemia? If you have Iron Deficiency Anemia, have you tried oral Iron supplements in the past with no results?
Below you will find a presentation by Brendan Boyle, an MD with ImproveCareNow. Dr. Boyle goes into detail about Anemia (particularly in Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients), effective and ineffective treatment methods and when to use Intravenous vs. oral Iron.
** Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical professional; this article should NOT be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your physician before changing or trying any treatments or medications. **
Iron infusions are an alternative treatment for Iron Deficiency Anemia and can be beneficial for patients who are unable to tolerate or absorb oral Iron supplements. In this article I will discuss my experiences with / review of the Injectafer ( Ferric Carboxymaltose) Iron Infusion series.
A broad indication for IDA as follows:1
Injectafer® (ferric carboxymaltose injection) is an iron replacement product indicated for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in adult patients
- who have intolerance to oral iron or who have had unsatisfactory response to oral iron
- who have non-dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (NDD-CKD) – Source
I arrived to the Novant Health Oncology Infusion Center just before 3pm; my weight was taken and I was asked to choose a seat. Two nurses attempted to start an IV, but unfortunately, as I explained to them, I’m always a hard stick. The 3rd nurse was able to get the line started; I was brought warm blankets and offered refreshments, which I declined. The administration of the drug only took about 20 minutes and I was observed for an extra 30 to ensure I didn’t have any reactions. I left with many bandages from all of the failed attempts to start an IV but overall everything went okay. I didn’t feel anything or taste anything other than when my line needed to be flushed. Did I feel any different after my first infusion? No. I was still exhausted. I still went to bed early and dreaded waking up in the morning. I still took breaks throughout the day at work with occasional chest pains and loss of breath.
I arrived just before 3pm, got checked in and taken back immediately. Same deal as last time: I was weighed and asked to find a seat. Once again, I chose a seat in the corner, away from the other patients. My nurse from the week prior greeted me and mentioned how happy she was she “didn’t have to stick me today.”- Honestly, I’ve been stuck so many times that I really don’t feel it anymore. The new nurse was able to get the line started without any issues. I watched TV as the 20 minute infusion was administered and after observation I went home.
One week later: I felt 100% rejuvenated. I hadn’t felt so “normal” in years. I had energy and no difficulty waking up in the morning. I didn’t need as many breaks throughout the day.
September 14th, 2017: Received a call from my doctor’s assistant letting me know my levels were within normal range.
Overall I’m satisfied. The medication did it’s job. There is no exact date or time period to follow up on labs so I just hope it lasts a while. I’m sure I’ll recognize when symptoms return.
Before you go, don’t forget to join the We Are Chronically Strong facebook group! We’d love to have you. In my next (blog) post I will be sharing information on Iron infusions and what it was like/ the outcome. Be on the lookout.
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- Anemia by MedicineNet.com
- Anemia by MayoClinic.org
- Anemia: Causes, symptoms, and treatments by MedicalNewsToday.com