Information for Patients
Also called: Iron poor blood
If you have anemia, your blood does not carry enough oxygen to the rest of your body. The most common cause of anemia is not having enough iron. Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that gives the red color to blood. It carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
Anemia has three main causes: blood loss, lack of red blood cell production, and high rates of red blood cell destruction.
Conditions that may lead to anemia include
- Heavy periods
- Colon polyps or colon cancer
- Inherited disorders
- A diet that does not have enough iron, folic acid or vitamin B12
- Blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia, or cancer
- Aplastic anemia, a condition that can be inherited or acquired
- G6PD deficiency, a metabolic disorder
Anemia can make you feel tired, cold, dizzy, and irritable. You may be short of breath or have a headache.
Your doctor will diagnose anemia with a physical exam and blood tests. Treatment depends on the kind of anemia you have.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
- Anemia (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Anemia - B12 deficiency (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Anemia caused by low iron -- infants and toddlers (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Anemia of chronic disease (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Anemia of Inflammation and Chronic Disease - NIH
- Febrile/cold agglutinins (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Ferritin blood test (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Hemolytic anemia (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Iron deficiency anemia (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Pernicious anemia (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Vitamin B12 level (Medical Encyclopedia)