PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — LaRue Flammer arrived for her blood test Thursday morning at the Labs at Geisinger Baltimore Drive. The Mahanoy City woman had a blood transfusion in December as a result of her anemia which is a blood disorder resulting in the lack of healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin to fuel the body with oxygen. She said it’s been a struggle dealing with chronic anemia for nearly 15 years. “It makes you extremely tired. It makes you short of breath during normal daily living.”
Simple things, said Ms. Flammer, are exhausting. “Going up the stairs feels like you ran a marathon.” Unlike her anemia, the most common form is iron deficiency and in many cases it can simply be treated with supplements and diet changes.
Geisinger Registered Nurse Darlene Gubino says iron pills and eating more green, leafy vegetables helped conquer her own anemia in the 1980s following surgery. “It was iron deficiency due to blood loss so therefore I was treated with iron.”
The more than 400 different types of anemia fall into three categories — anemia caused by blood loss, by decreased or faulty red blood cell production or destruction of red blood cells. In some cases, the anemia can indicate a more serious health threat. “It could be meaning a colon cancer. It could be a bone marrow disorder,” said Ms. Gubino. It’s why anemia should never be ignored. “Anemia untreated could be deadly.”
Women, people with chronic diseases and young children are most at risk of having anemia. Geisinger is launching an initiative to educate the public about anemia and increase testing at blood screenings for it — such as blood donor drives.