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Talking to Your Doctor about Nutritional Anemia

Talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors or concerns with anemia. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. If you don't, tell the doctor. Ask for educational materials.
  • Ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Your Risk for Anemia
  • What is my risk of getting anemia?
  • What can I do to lower my risk?
  • Am I getting adequate nutrition in my diet?
  • Is my diet appropriate for my weight and lifestyle?
  • Should I be checked for anemia?
About Treatment Options
  • How is anemia treated?
  • What are the risks?
  • Is a transfusion necessary, or is there a safer alternative?
  • If I need medicine, how long will I need to take it?
  • Will the medicine interact with anything else I am taking?
  • What are the side effects?
  • How often should I check back with you?
  • Can I treat my anemia by making changes in what I eat?
About Lifestyle Changes
  • Do I need to alter my diet or other lifestyle habits?
  • Are there any activities I should avoid?
About Your Outlook
  • Will anemia affect my quality of life? Will this be short or long term?
  • How long will I have to live with limits?

References

Anemia. American Society of Hematology website. Available at: http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Anemia. Accessed February 13, 2020.
Anemia. National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/anemia. Accessed February 13, 2020.
Anemia in Older Adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anemia-in-older-adults. Updated November 27, 2017. Accessed February 13, 2020.
Anemia in Adults-Approach to Patients. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/anemia-in-adults-approach-to-the-patient. Updated September 27, 2019. Accessed February 13, 2020.
Complete blood count (CBC). Lab Tests Online—AACC website. Available at: https://labtestsonline.org/tests/complete-blood-count-cbc. Updated January 11, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020.
Vieth JT, Lane DR. Anemia. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2017 Dec;31(6):1045-1060.
Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed October 15, 2018.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2019
  • Update Date: 02/14/2020
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