What is hemolytic anemia?
Hemolytic anemia is a condition when red blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before their life cycle ends.
A piece of red blood cell shaped like a donut without a hole in the middle. These cells function to carry oxygen throughout the body and remove carbon dioxide (waste products) from the body.
Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow, spongy tissue in the bone. Normally, red blood cells live about 120 days in the bloodstream before they die.
In addition to red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are also made in the bone marrow. White blood cells fight infection, while platelets gather to close small wounds or holes in the walls of blood vessels to stop bleeding.
When blood cells die, the body's bone marrow will make more blood cells as a replacement. But in the case of hemolytic anemia, bone marrow is not able to make red blood cells quickly to meet the body's needs.
Hemolytic anemia can cause various health problems, such as fatigue, pain, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), enlargement of the heart, and heart failure.
People with hemolytic anemia tend to get tired easily because their bodies do not receive enough oxygen because red blood cells do not function properly. In addition, symptoms that may be experienced are shortness of breath, dizziness, and pale or yellow skin. If left untreated, anemia can damage the liver and other major organs due to lack of oxygen intake.
What causes hemolytic anemia?
The term "anemia" usually refers to a condition when the number of red blood cells in a person's blood is classified as low.
Anemia can also occur if red blood cells do not contain enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.
Anemia has three main causes, namely blood loss (bleeding), lack of red blood cell production, or high levels of red blood cell damage.
Hemolytic anemia is caused by a high level of damage to red blood cells. Many diseases, conditions, and factors can trigger the body to destroy red blood cells.
This cause can be inherited or obtained. Hemolytic anemia that is "inherited" refers to conditions due to genes that are inherited / passed on from parents to their children. Meanwhile, hemolytic anemia that is "acquired" refers to a condition that doesn't originate from a genetic gene, but your body develops itself. Sometimes the cause of hemolytic anemia is unknown.
Can hemolytic anemia be cured?
Because hemolytic anemia has a variety of types, treatment and health prospects depend on the type and severity of anemia you have. This condition can occur suddenly or slowly. Symptoms of hemolytic anemia range from mild to severe symptoms.
Many cases of hemolytic anemia have been successfully managed or controlled. Mild hemolytic anemia may not require treatment at all, whereas severe hemolytic anemia requires appropriate treatment so that the condition is not fatal.
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Reviewed date: January 20, 2017 | Last Edited: January 20, 2017