Doctors trained in Western medicine usually view anemia as a sign of another condition. One very common type of anemia is IDA (Iron deficiency anemia). Among menstruating women, IDA is the most common cause of anemia. In addition, almost half of pregnant women are known to be deficient in iron. The human body is unable to produce adequate amounts of hemoglobin without adequate amounts of iron. Hemoglobin is a substance found in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all tissues of the body.
Causes of Anemia
Iron deficiency anemia may be caused by various factors including poor absorption of iron due to intestinal problems or gastric bypass surgery, colon cancer, internal hemorrhage, heavy menstruation, ulcers that cause blood loss, or the body’s sudden need for iron such as those that can happen during pregnancy.
Symptoms of Anemia
• Severe fatigue
• Chest discomfort
• Discomfort in the chest
• Pale eyelids, lips and skin
• Cold limbs (hands and feet)
• Light headedness
• Shortness of breath
Methods to diagnose anemia may depend on what is believed to be causing the condition. The diagnostic procedures used for anemia associated with vitamin or iron deficiency are fairly simple. It can be pretty straightforward and begin with a few blood tests. When the anemia is suspected to be connected to a more serious disease, doctors may use a diagnostic process that may be more through and in-depth. These can include genetic testing, biopsy of the bone marrow, colonoscopy, endoscopy, urine analysis, and stool sampling.
Modes of Treatment Used by Western Medicine for Anemia
Treating IDA typically involves dietary changes plus the intake of iron supplements. Elevating the amounts of iron in the body takes time (about half a year) and should be carefully observed by a doctor. From time to time, if the patient’s condition does not improve with oral therapy, iron injections may be needed.
Chinese Medicine Treatment of Iron Deficiency Anemia
Chinese medicine treatment of IDA is based on what practitioners refer to as “Differential Diagnosis”. This type of diagnosis is a process that entails a very comprehensive evaluation of the symptoms in order to formulate a specific and precise diagnosis. A certain set of symptoms is known as a “pattern,” in Chinese medicine. IDA has a common pattern that’s referred to as “blood deficiency”. An anemic person may possess one or more patterns occurring all at once in his/her body. A “blood deficiency” pattern may be due to another pattern known as “spleen qi deficiency”. Treatment will be based on the patient’s specific pattern diagnosis.
Treatment for iron deficiency anemia with Chinese medicine will not only focus on the healing of the symptoms but on the cause of the problem, as well. The main modes of treatment used to address patterns related to IDA are diet, massage, acupuncture, and Chinese herbs. Patient-specific herbal remedies and acupuncture can be utilized to build qi and blood, enhance digestion without any untoward side effects, normalize menstruation, and stop bleeding. Massage has been shown found to help stimulate the production of more red blood cells in the body and boost blood flow. Very important to a successful treatment is a vitamin and iron-rich diet simultaneously combined with a few advices for enhancing digestion.
Combining Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine in the Treatment of Iron Deficiency Anemia
Integrating Chinese medicine and Western Medicine is the best approach for curing IDA. Your acupuncturist and medical doctor can cooperate with each other in order to provide you with a complementary plan of treatment that is both effective and safe.
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