Home > Anemia

Anemia in New Jersey

The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve. Angela Merlo, MD is an experienced Gastroenterologist and expert at diagnosing the causes of and treating anemia in adults as well as children.

What is Anemia?

Anemia is a serious medical condition requiring urgent attention by a Gastroenterologist. Anemia is the term used when the count of red blood cells is lower than normal. The body naturally compensates for mild reductions in the number of red blood cells. But, severe anemia jeopardizes the functions of all vital organs. There are two main causes of anemia:

  1. Blood loss
  2. Inadequate red blood cell production from
    1. Iron deficiency
    2. Vitamin B12 deficiency
    3. Cancers of blood forming cells

Deficiencies in iron and Vitamin B12 can occur from poor nutrition or poor absorption. Dr. Merlo provides her patients with the necessary thorough examinations to determine the exact cause of anemia so that health can be restored.

What Digestive Disorders Cause Anemia?

The digestive system is the predominant area of the body where blood loss occurs which is why a Gastroenterologist is needed whenever anemia is diagnosed. Any digestive disorder that causes blood loss can produce anemia such as:

Anemia can also be caused by any digestive disorder that interferes with the absorption of vitamins and nutrients such as:

What are the Symptoms of Anemia?

Mild anemia produces no symptoms. Symptoms occur when the anemia is severe enough to affect vital bodily functions. People may feel:

  • Chest pain
  • Crave ice to chew
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue or exercise intolerance
  • Shortness of breath

How is the Cause of Anemia Determined?

The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center is ready to help. Dr. Merlo is committed to providing her patients with an accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plan once the cause is known.  Invasive tests are usually required and Dr. Merlo is highly skilled at colonoscopy, endoscopy, and capsule endoscopy. The vast majority of cases of anemia are resolved by one or more of these three tests. Rarely, angiograms or bone marrow biopsies are necessary.

How is Anemia Treated?

The goal is to prevent further blood loss if bleeding is causing the anemia or determine the cause of the iron or vitamin B12 deficiency so that stores can be replenished. Dr. Merlo is expert at performing specialized procedures during colonoscopy and endoscopy to remove polyps and cauterize bleeding sites. Dr. Merlo may prescribe medication to control disorders that are causing the bleeding such as ulcers, Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative colitis. Dr. Merlo will recommend special diets when the cause of anemia is gluten allergy or Celiac Disease.

If you have symptoms or have been diagnosed with anemia, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in Lawrenceville or Princeton, New Jersey for an appointment. Dr. Merlo is expert at resolving anemia in adults and children.