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Hemolytic anemia: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Red blood cells are the most abundant elements in the Blood, and their main task is to provide oxygen to the body’s tissues. When a person has few red blood cells, they are considered frail. However, there are many types of anemia, and in this FastlyHealarticle, we will talk specifically about hemolytic anemia: causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Hemolytic anemia occurs when red blood cells, which last approximately 120 days in the body, are destroyed prematurely, failing to perform their function. This happens because the bone marrow cannot replace all the red blood cells that the body has lost. Why does this condition occur? Find out below.

Causes of hemolytic anemia

There are two types of hemolytic anemia: intrinsic and extrinsic, and the diagnosis of each depends on its cause. The inherent occurs due to hereditary factors, and the most common are the following:

  • Sickle cell anemia: it is transmitted from parents to children and occurs due to the malformation of red blood cells in the body, which have an abnormal semilunar shape.
  • Thalassemia: This condition occurs when the body produces an abnormal form of hemoglobin and, therefore, the red blood cells cannot provide oxygen and are destroyed.
  • Glucose -6- phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency: This deficiency causes the body to destroy red blood cells when undergoing infection or stress.

Among the causes of extrinsic hemolytic anemia, we find:

  • Immune system failure: occurs when the immune system recognizes red blood cells as foreign substances that pose a threat; therefore, it develops antibodies that attack and destroy them as if they were some virus.
  • It is also a cause of extrinsic hemolytic anemia infections such as hepatitis, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr, thyroid fever, E. coli, and streptococci.
  • Medications such as acetaminophen, penicillin, sulfonamides, diseases like leukemialupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and some types of cancer can also cause extrinsic hemolytic anemia.

Hemolytic anemia can also occur from exposure to chemicals, toxins, ingesting medications, blood transfusion of a different blood type, and blood clots in tiny blood vessels.

Symptoms of hemolytic anemia

Like most types of anemia, hemolytic anemia, if very mild, may not cause any symptoms; however, among the most common manifestations of this condition are:

  • Pale skin or loss of skin color.
  • Soft spot.
  • Dizziness
  • Fever.
  • Dark-colored urine.
  • Spleen and liver enlargement.
  • Intolerance to physical activity.
  • Confusion.
  • Increase in pulse.
  • Heart murmur.

To determine if a person has hemolytic anemia, it is necessary to perform a series of tests that include: a bone marrow puncture, general check-up, hematology, bone marrow aspiration, and other blood tests; therefore, consult a doctor if we have several of these symptoms is essential to get an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment of hemolytic anemia

A specialist can only appoint hemolytic anemia treatment, so medical consultation and diagnostic tests are essential. The intake of medications or therapy will depend on the cause of the anemia and the conditions of each person. A possible treatment for this pathology may suggest:

  • Medications containing corticosteroids.
  • Administration of intravenous immunoglobulin.
  • Blood transfusions
  • Immunosuppressive therapy.
  • Spleen removal.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Hemolytic anemia: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .

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