Magazine article Drug Topics

New Campaign Raises Awareness That Anemia Can Be Treated

Magazine article Drug Topics

New Campaign Raises Awareness That Anemia Can Be Treated

Article excerpt

Patients with serious illnesses, including cancer or chronic kidney disease, often mistake the symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue, for symptoms of their disease.

The overall goal of the Anemia LifeLine initiative, developed by Amgen in collaboration with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), The Wellness Community, and the National Anemia Action Council (NAAC), is to make these patients and the medical professionals that care for them aware that these symptoms may be caused by anemia and riot by the disease itself-- and that anemia is treatable.

The sponsors of Anemia LifeLine recently held a conference in New York City to discuss the program's objectives. Actor Danny Glover, An mia LifeLine national spokesman, was also on hand to share the moving, personal story of his father's struggle with anemia associated with chronic kidney disease.

Anemia Lifeline's mission is to:

*Raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of anemia associated with serious conditions

*Provide educational materials that explain this type of anemia to medical professionals, patients, and caregivers

*Encourage those who may have anemia to talk with their healthcare team and seek diagnosis and treatment

*Promote the concept that treatment of anemia can help patients with serious illnesses live healthier and more productive lives.

According to Jonathan Kay, ILD., clinical director, rheumatology unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; associate clinical professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass.; and member, NAAC, anemia is under and underdiagnosed. Several reasons for this problem exist Symptoms of anemia are often ignored or attributed to other causes, especially by those with serious diseases; anemia may be difficult to identify because the symptoms are mild; and symptoms of anemia are easily mistaken for symptoms of serious diseases or for side effects of the medications used to treat those illnesses.

"One of the best things a patient with a serious illness can do is take the Anemia LifeLine 'What's Your AQ [Anemia Quotient]?' self-- quiz," said Kay "This simple yes/no quiz can help patients initiate a dialogue with their physician. It is important that they talk openly with their physician about their symptoms." The quiz can be given by a pharmacist, who can advise patients about medications that may be causing their arie mia-for example, dapsone (Jacobusy-and make them aware of treat menu that can help, such as nutritional supplements containing iron.

Seeking treatment for anemia after taking the quiz or talking with a healthcare professional may increase a seriously ill patient's chance for survival Anemia affects more than 75% of all cancer patients, according to Kim Thiboldeaux, president and CEO of The Wellness Community, a nonprofit organization that provides free education and support to cancer patients. …

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