- Anemia of chronic disease —chronic diseases can slow the production of RBCs
- Aplastic anemia —bone marrow is not able to produce enough RBCs
- Iron-deficiency anemia —iron is a building block of hemoglobin
- Macrocytic B12 deficient anemia and pernicious anemia —B12 is a building block of RBCs
- Sickle cell anemia —RBCs have an abnormal shape that causes destruction of RBCs and low levels of hemoglobin
|Red Blood Cells|
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Blood loss, such as that caused by:
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Bleeding in the digestive tract
- Bleeding in the urinary tract
- Abnormally low RBC production, due to:
Abnormally high RBC destruction, caused by inherited disorders such as:
- Sickle cell anemia
- Thalassemia —difficulty in manufacturing hemoglobin
- Enzyme deficiencies
- Women of childbearing age
- Women who are pregnant
- Older adults with other medical conditions
- Infants younger than two years of age
- Poor diet low in iron, vitamins, and minerals
- Blood loss such as that due to surgery or injury
- Chronic or serious illness
- Chronic infections
- Family history of inherited anemia such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia
- Shortness of breath
- Coldness in the hands and feet
- Pale skin
- Chest pain
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Blood tests
- Stool tests
- Bone marrow aspiration or biopsy
- Hormone treatment
- Epoetin for anemia due to chronic kidney disease or cancer chemotherapy
- Medications that act on the immune system
- Chelation therapyfor lead poisoning
Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplant
- Eat a diet rich in iron and vitamins.
- Take iron or vitamin supplements, as advised by your doctor.
- Treat underlying causes of anemia.
- Report signs and symptoms, especially chronic fatigue, to your doctor.
Iron Disorders Institute http://www.irondisorders.org
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
Canadian Blood Services http://www.blood.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Anemia—differential diagnosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 8, 2011. Accessed August 19, 2014.
Guralnik JM, Eisenstaedt RS, Ferrucci L, Klein HG, Woodman RC. Prevalence of anemia in persons 65 years and older in the United States: evidence for a high rate of unexplained anemia. Blood. 2004;104:2263-2268.
Nissenson AR, Goodnough LT, Dubois RW. Anemia: not just an innocent bystander? Arch Intern Med. 2003;163:1400-1404.
What is anemia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/anemia/anemia%5Fwhatis.html. Updated May 18, 2012. Accessed November 1, 2012.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 08/19/2014 -