Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Hemolytic Anemia Overview

What is hemolytic anemia?
A person with hemolytic anemia has a lower than normal number of red blood cells in the bloodstream. Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and have a life span of 120 days, before they are destroyed by the body. In someone with hemolytic anemia, the red blood cells are destroyed too quickly. When this happens, the bone marrow becomes unable to produce enough red blood cells to keep up with the loss. Hemolytic anemia may be inherited, or caused by autoimmune disease, drugs, toxins, or infections.

What are the symptoms of hemolytic anemia?
Early symptoms of hemolytic anemia may include anorexia, weakness, fatigue, pale skin, headaches, dizziness, and faintness upon standing. Symptoms of worsening hemolytic anemia may include chest pain, difficulty breathing with exertion, fainting, palpitations, jaundice, and brown urine.

How does the doctor treat hemolytic anemia?
Treatment for hemolytic anemia may include oral corticosteroids, immune globulin, blood transfusion, vitamin B supplements, and surgical removal of the spleen.

Continue to Hemolytic Anemia Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Hemolytic Anemia References
  1. Dhaliwal G, Cornett PA, Tierney LM Jr. Hemolytic anemia. Am Fam Physician. 2004 Jun 1;69(11):2599-606. [15202694]
  2. Rosse WF, Hillmen P, Schreiber AD. Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. Hematology (Am Soc Hematol Educ Program). 2004;:48-62. [15561676]
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