The Effects and Treatment of Anemia in Diabetics

Kozzi-blood-cell-883-X-588Roughly 25% of the diabetic population has anemia on a certain level. Anemia is considered to be an ailment where the body has less than the normal amount of red blood cells, which in turn prevents the needed levels of oxygen getting to the cells within the body. People with anemia typically exhibit symptoms such as fatigue, poor appetite, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath. These symptoms mirror those of diabetes and because of this fact, when seen in a diabetic individual; they are often not recognized as anemia. Anemia can occur in a diabetic as the production of the hormone known as erythropoietin, which helps red blood cells function to their full capacity and is produced by the kidneys decreases due to changes in the kidneys can happen in diabetics, and because of this, early detection of this is key.

Anemia is usually diagnosed through a blood count level test known as CBC, or complete blood count. Hemoglobin and hematocrit present in the blood unveil whether an individual has anemia or not. Hemoglobin is the area of red blood cells that provides oxygen to cells within the body, while hematocrit shows the amount of red blood cells in the bloodstream. If a diabetic has anemia, often blood sugar measurements can be inaccurate, or not as accurate as they would be if the diabetic did not have anemia. Healthcare providers have put into place certain measures when testing glucose levels so they know how properly to treat diabetics who also have anemia.

All blood glucose monitors were created to measure the levels of sugar in the body. However, because there are many different types of blood, the percentage of red blood cells can vary. The average amount of hematocrit for men is usually higher than in women and as we age, the levels of hematocrit in the blood drop significantly. Hematocrit is an essential part of blood circulation that all glucose monitors use to note the amount of glucose present in a diabetic’s bloodstream. While all blood glucose monitors were created to measure glucose levels, the hematocrit values that the monitoring system reads may vary. Low hematocrit is often a side effect of many maladies.

So what does a diabetic with anemia need for proper treatment? Once diagnosed, physicians will often prescribe iron supplements as a form of treatment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends patients be treated with a genetically engineered form of EPO, another type of treatment, to obtain a hematocrit level between 30 and 36 percent. As with many diseases, diet is another factor that is often regulated. Many diabetics with anemia are put on a strict regimen that includes foods rich in iron, folic acid and other B vitamins, such as vitamin B12. Despite the issues that can plague an anemic individual, there are ways to prevent it, such as keeping blood sugar levels at the goals set forth by the individual and their primary care physician. Some primary care physicians may also suggest blood transfusions and other medicines that allow the body to manufacture more red blood cells needed

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