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Blood cells
Blood cells


Definition:

Anemia of chronic disease is a blood disorder that results from a long-term (chronic) medical condition that affects the production and lifespan of red blood cells.

See also: Anemia



Alternative Names:

Anemia of inflammation



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Anemia is a condition in which there is a lower than normal number of red blood cells in the blood. Certain chronic infections, inflammatory diseases, and other illnesses can affect the body's ability to produce red blood cells.

Conditions that can lead to anemia of chronic disease include:



Symptoms:

You may not notice symptoms if you have another disease.

Possible symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Paleness
  • Shortness of breath


Signs and tests:

The doctor will perform a physical examination.

Tests that may be done to diagnose anemia or rule out other causes include:



Treatment:

The anemia will get better when the disease that is causing it is treated.

The condition is rarely severe enough to require a blood transfusion. Iron supplements may sometimes be used, although they should only be given to patients whose iron levels are low.



Expectations (prognosis):

The anemia will improve when the disease that is causing it is successfully treated.



Complications:

Discomfort from symptoms is the main complication in most cases.



Calling your health care provider:

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have a chronic disorder and you develop symptoms of anemia.



References:

Ginder GD. Microcytic and hypochromic anemias. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 163.




Review Date: 4/5/2009
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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