What is Hemolytic Anemia?

Thanks to red blood cells, oxygen is delivered from the lungs to the heart and to your whole body. Red blood cells exist due in large measure to the bone marrow. Hemolytic anemia develops when the bone marrow is unable to generate a sufficient level of red blood cells to make compensation for the dying red blood cells.

Hemolytic anemia can basically be intrinsic or extrinsic. Extrinsic hemolytic anemia, also called autoimmune hemolytic anemia, occurs when normal red blood cells are kept and extinguished by the spleen. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia can also be the consequence aroused from the destruction of red blood cells caused by leukemia, tumors, infection, autoimmune disorders or medication side effects.

You have intrinsic hemolytic anemia when your body generates defective red blood cells. Intrinsic hemolytic anemia is usually inherited, especially in people with thalassemia or sickle cell anemia.

The condition can be caused by certain diseases. It can be due to hepatitis, typhoid fever, enlarged spleen, lupus, streptococcus, Escherichia coli, etc. Sometimes, hemolytic anemia can also be because of some certain medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, procainamide, chlorpromazine, etc.

Symptoms of Hemolytic Anemia

The severity and kind of the condition may decide the symptoms of hemolytic anemia. Because of the various causes of hemolytic anemia, different people may be faced with different symptoms.

Jaundice and Dark Urine

The condition in which your skin or the whites of the eyes turns yellow is called jaundice. As red blood cells die, hemoglobin is poured into the bloodstream and broken down into bilirubin. This compound leads to the yellowish color of skin and eyes, and the dark yellow or brown color of your urine.

Upper Abdomen Pain

A spleen larger than usual or gallstones may lead to pain in the upper abdomen. High levels of cholesterol together with bilirubin mentioned above can lead to the formation of stones in the gallbladder. These stones are likely to cause pain.

Located in the abdomen, the spleen can aid your body in fighting infection and removing aged or damaged blood cells. Hemolytic anemia may cause the spleen to be enlarged, which can also bring pain.

You may also undergo common symptoms including tiredness, pale complexion, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness.

Leg Ulcers and Pain

In people with sickle cell anemia, small blood vessels may be clogged due to the sickle-like cells, leading to the blockage of the blood flow. Leg soreness may ensue.

Other less common symptoms that you may experience include:

  • Heart murmur
  • Enlarged liver

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Sources
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