Anemia is often mild enough that it does not need treatment. It will likely get better when the disease that is causing it is treated.
The condition is rarely severe enough to need a blood transfusion.
Iron supplements may sometimes be used, but only for patients whose iron levels are low. Taking iron pills when your body does not need it can lead to serious medical problems. Always talk with your health care provider first.
For some conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, medicine called erythropoietin may be given. It stimulates your bone marrow to make more red blood cells.
The anemia will improve when the disease that is causing it is successfully treated.
Discomfort from symptoms is the main complication in most cases. Anemia may lead to a higher risk of death in patients with heart failure.
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have a chronic disorder and you develop symptoms of anemia.
Gardner LB, Benz Jr EJ. Anemia of chronic diseases. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al., eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 37.
Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.