Physicians treat low blood iron levels in several ways: prescribing supplements, which patients take daily, suggesting diets with iron-rich foods, and in more severe cases, performing transfusions. Most low levels of iron in the blood, called anemia, derive from dietary deficiencies. Upon diagnosing anemia, most doctors begin with prescriptions for iron pills or supplements, which patients take one to three times daily until their iron levels return to normal.
Sometimes anemia arises from dietary deficiency, but sometimes individuals cannot absorb iron. Rarely, this condition stems from internal bleeding. Upon making a diagnosis of anemia, physicians identify the underlying cause of anemia, which helps prescribe an appropriate treatment. With a disease or underlying conditions, doctors treat those primary causes first, which usually alleviates anemia.
For most patients, taking pills and vitamins for a prescribed period of time, ideally along with vitamin C, sufficiently restores normal iron blood levels. Upon starting iron pills, patients generally see improvement in physical symptoms within several days. However, patients must take iron pills for longer periods of time, usually up to six months, before blood iron levels return to normal, according to WebMD.
Severe cases of anemia warrant blood transfusions; following transfusions, physicians typically prescribe iron pills and recommend diets with food high in iron. After diagnosing anemia, doctors monitor the patient using complete blood counts, iron tests, reticulocyte tests or ferritin level tests.