Siamak T. Nabili, MD, MPH
Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Anemia facts*
- What is anemia?
- What causes anemia?
- Can inadequate iron cause anemia?
- What about acute (sudden) blood loss as a cause of anemia?
- What are other causes of anemia?
- Can anemia be hereditary?
- What are the symptoms of anemia?
- How is anemia diagnosed?
- What is a complete blood cell (CBC) count?
- How is blood collected for a complete blood cell (CBC)?
- What is the red blood cell (RBC) count?
- What is hemoglobin?
- What does a low hemoglobin level mean?
- What is the hematocrit?
- How is hematocrit determined?
- How is anemia treated?
- What are the complications of anemia?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for anemia?
- Blood and Bleeding Disorders FAQs
- Patient Comments: Anemia - Levels
- Patient Comments: Anemia - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Anemia - Treatments
- Find a local Hematologist in your town
*Anemia facts medical author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
- Anemia is a medical condition in which the red blood cell count or hemoglobin is less than normal.
- For men, anemia is typically defined as hemoglobin level of less than 13.5 gram/100 ml and in women as hemoglobin of less than 12.0 gram/100 ml.
- Anemia is caused by either a decrease in production of red blood cells or hemoglobin, or an increase in loss or destruction of red blood cells.
- Some patients with anemia have no symptoms. Others may feel tired, easily fatigued, appear pale, a feeling of heart racing, short of breath, and/or worsening of heart problems.
- Anemia can be detected by a simple blood test called a complete blood cell count (CBC).
- The treatment of the anemia varies greatly and very much depends on the particular cause.
What is anemia?
Anemia is a medical condition in which the red blood cell count or hemoglobin is less than normal. The normal level of hemoglobin is generally different in males and females. For men, anemia is typically defined as hemoglobin level of less than 13.5 gram/100 ml and in women as hemoglobin of less than 12.0 gram/100 ml. These definitions may vary slightly depending on the source and the laboratory reference used.
What causes anemia?
Any process that can disrupt the normal life span of a red blood cell may cause anemia. Normal life span of a red blood cell is typically around 120 days. Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow.
Anemia is caused essentially through two basic pathways. Anemia is caused by either:
- a decrease in production of red blood cells or hemoglobin, or
- an increase in loss or destruction of red blood cells.
A more common classification of anemia (low hemoglobin) is based on the Mean Corposcular Volume (MCV) which signifies the average volume of individual red blood cells.
- If the MCV is low (less than 80), the anemia is categorized as microcytic anemia (low cell volume).
- If the MCV is in the normal range (80-100), it is called a normocytic anemia (normal cell volume).
- If the MCV is high, then it is called a macrocytic anemia (large cell volume).
Looking at each of the components of a complete blood count (CBC), especially the MCV, a physician can gather clues as to what could be the most common reason for anemia in each patient.
|Picture of Red Blood Cells|
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