How Long Does It Take to Recover From Anemia?

Medically Reviewed on 12/30/2021
how serious is being anemic?
The recovery rate of anemia may depend on the underlying cause of the disease, as well as the severity of deficiency and treatment options.

The recovery rate of anemia may depend on the underlying cause of the disease. For example, if a stomach ulcer causes anemia, the ulcer needs to be treated first to stop the bleeding and treat anemia. However, anemia caused by kidney failure will require long-term monitoring and kidney transplant.

Recovery from anemia may depend on many factors, including:

  • Severity of deficiency
  • Underlying cause
  • Treatment options

Usually, young people recover from anemia more quickly than older adults. The effects in older adults are usually higher due to underlying chronic medical problems. Anemia could exacerbate any preexisting conditions.

Apart from these treatments, lifestyle modification and having a healthy balanced diet can help recover from anemia rapidly. Including essential nutrients in the diet can improve the recovery rate of the condition.

7 types of anemia

The 7 types of anemia include the following:

Iron deficiency anemia

Generally, with oral supplementation, the hemoglobin level should increase by 2 g/dL within four to eight weeks. Usually, the hemoglobin level should be restored by three months, whereas replacement of iron stores may take longer. Hence, iron supplements should be continued for a few more months even if the hemoglobin levels are restored to build iron stores.

An intravenous iron administration can restore iron levels more rapidly than oral iron supplements. However, intravenous iron administration is recommended when the person’s intestinal absorption is impaired or when large doses of iron are required.

Conditions, where intravenous iron administration may be recommended, include:

  • Celiac disease (a disease caused due to gluten sensitivity)
  • Autoimmune gastritis
  • Partial removal of the duodenum
  • Excessive menstrual bleeding
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Post-surgery bleeding

Pernicious anemia

If vitamin B12 deficiency is the reason for anemia (pernicious anemia), the patient would be administered vitamin B12 shots every day or several times a week until B12 levels return to normal.

The duration of shots may decrease but may continue lifelong depending on the severity of the condition. Supplements could be recommended if pernicious anemia is due to dietary deficiency of vitamin B12.

Aplastic anemia

Blood transfusions may be recommended for some types of anemia, particularly aplastic anemia. However, they are not a permanent cure for the disease and may require supporting treatment.

A bone marrow transplant could be recommended if the bone marrow fails to produce healthy blood cells.

Hemolytic anemia

Hemolytic anemia treatment may include:

  • Treating infections that are potential stressors
  • Suppressing the immune system that attacks red blood cells

Generally, treatment for hemolytic anemia may continue lifelong.

Sickle cell anemia

Stem cell or bone marrow transplants are the only cure, but considering the risk involved with these procedures, they are rarely recommended to treat sickle cell anemia.

Thalassemia

Most mild cases of thalassemia do not require treatment, whereas severe forms require lifelong blood transfusions, medication, folic acid supplementation, spleen removal, or a blood or bone marrow transplant.

Anemia of chronic disease

Anemia caused by a chronic disease may require erythropoietin injection that stimulates the production of red blood cells to ease fatigue.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/30/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Nabili SN. Anemia. eMedicineHealth. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/anemia/article_em.htm

Jimenez K, Kulnigg-Dabsch S, Gasche C. Management of Iron Deficiency Anemia. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2015;11(4):241-250. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4836595/

Mayo Clinic. Anemia. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anemia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351366