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.
In this Article
- 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
- Find a local Hematologist in your town
Can anemia be hereditary?
Yes, anemia may be genetic. Hereditary disorders can shorten the life span of the red blood cell and lead to anemia (for example, sickle cell anemia). Hereditary disorders can also cause anemia by impairing the production of hemoglobin (for example, alpha thalassemia and beta thalassemia).
Depending on the degree of the genetic abnormality, hereditary anemias may cause mild, moderate, or severe anemia. In fact, some may be too severe to be compatible with life and may result in death of the fetus (unborn infant). On the other hand, some of these anemias are so mild that they are not noticeable and are incidentally revealed during a routine blood work.
What are the symptoms of anemia?
Some patients with anemia have no symptoms. Others with anemia may feel:
- Fatigue easily
- Appear pale
- Develop palpitations (feeling of heart racing)
- Become short of breath
Additional symptoms may include:
- Hair loss
- Malaise (general sense of feeling unwell)
- Worsening of heart problems
It is worth noting that if anemia is longstanding (chronic anemia), the body may adjust to low oxygen levels and the individual may not feel different unless the anemia becomes severe. On the other hand, if the anemia occurs rapidly (acute anemia), the patient may experience significant symptoms relatively quickly.
Next: How is anemia diagnosed?
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