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Anemia

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from Greek: haima - blood
Synonym: lack of blood
German: Anämie

1 Definition

The term anemia is used to describe

The standard of a population serves as a reference value. The result is an impaired oxygen transport capacity.

According to the WHO definition, anemia is present if the hemoglobin concentration is below 12 g/dl (women) or below 13 g/dl (men).

2 Classification

Different kinds of anemia can be classified by several criteria. The classification is made more difficult by the fact that "anemia" often is not an independent disease but rather a symptom of an underlying condition.

2.1 ...by morphology

2.2 ...by etiology

2.3 ...by cell turnover

  • Hyporegenerative anemia
  • Normoregenerative anemia
  • Hyperregenerative anemia

Herold (2003) proposes a system that groups the different causes of anemia:

  • Anemia due to disrupted production
  • Anemia due to increased erythrocyte depletion
  • Anemia due to loss of erythrocytes
  • Anemia due to distribution problems

3 Clinical relevance

The clinical presentation of anemia depends on its specific cause and the degree of hemoglobin deficiency. Some symptoms can appear in all kinds of anemia because they are a result of an impaired oxygen transport capacity. They are called the general symptoms of anemia:

4 Diagnosis

The basis of diagnosing anemia is the differential blood count that includes the red blood cell indices. In addition, the most important parameters of the iron metabolism (ferritin, possibly transferrin and iron as well), the reticulocyte count, vitamin B12 and folic acid are determined.

Fore more details visit the main article: Diagnosing anemia

5 Therapy

Therapy depends on the particular pathogenesis. If the anemia is caused by an underlying condition (e.g. a tumor), therapy should focus on that aspect. If the cause is a lack of substrates, the lacking substances (iron, folic acid, vitamin B12) can be substituted. Renal anemia calls for the additional substitution of erythropoietin.

Serious forms of anemia might require giving red cell concentrate.

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