Anemia

Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index

Medical Author:

Related
Symptoms & Signs

Anemia is the condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. The oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is, therefore, decreased. Persons with anemia may feel tired and fatigue easily, appear pale, develop palpitations and become unusually short of breath. Children with chronic anemia are prone to infections and learning problems.

In general, anemia has four basic categories of causes. One or more of these causes must be operating to produce anemia:
Hemorrhage -- bleeding
Hemolysis
-- excessive destruction of red blood cells
Underproduction of red blood cells
Not enough normal hemoglobin

Women are more likely than men to have anemia because of the loss of blood each month through menstruation. Iron deficiency anemia is common and in adults is most often due to chronic blood loss. This can be from menstruation or from small amounts of repeated bleeding (which can be very subtle) and in children is due mainly to not enough iron in the diet. Anemia is also often due to gastrointestinal bleeding caused by medications including, such very common drugs as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/26/2003

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Causes of Anemia
    • Alcoholism Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as...learn more »
      In This Article
      Alcoholism Article
      • Alcohol use disorder facts
      • What is alcohol abuse?
      • What is alcoholism?
      • What differentiates alcohol abuse from alcoholism?
      • What are risk factors for alcoholism?
      • What causes alcoholism? Is alcoholism hereditary?
      • What are alcohol use disorder symptoms and signs in teenagers, women, men, and the elderly?
      • How do physicians diagnose alcohol use disorder?
      • What are the stages of alcohol use disorder?
      • What is the treatment for alcohol use disorder?
      • What medications treat alcohol use disorder?
      • How can you tell if someone has a drinking problem?
      • Can an alcoholic just cut back or stop drinking?
      • Is there a safe level of drinking?
      • Is it safe to drink alcohol while pregnant?
      • How can someone find more information or get help or support to treat alcohol use disorder?
      • What are the long-term physical and psychological effects of alcohol use disorder?
      • What is codependency, and what is the treatment for codependency?
      • Is it possible to prevent alcohol use disorder?
      • What is the prognosis of alcohol use disorder?
    • Beta Thalassemia Beta Thalassemia is the most familiar type of thalassemia. Thalassemia is not just one disease but rather a complex series of...learn more »
      In This Article
      Beta Thalassemia Article
      • Thalassemia facts
      • What are the thalassemias?
      • What is beta thalassemia?
      • What is the difference between thalassemia minor and major?
      • What is Mediterranean anemia?
      • What is the genetic pattern of inheritance of beta thalassemia?
      • The diagnosis of thalassemia major and minor
      • The treatment of thalassemia major
    • Cancer Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Cancer Article
      • Cancer facts
      • What is cancer?
      • What causes cancer?
      • What are cancer symptoms and signs?
      • What are the different types of cancer?
      • How is cancer diagnosed?
      • How is cancer staging determined?
      • What is the treatment for cancer?
      • What is the prognosis for cancer?
      • Can cancer be prevented?
      • Where can people find more information about cancer?
    • Celiac Disease Celiac disease is a condition in which a person has inflammation of the small intestinal mucosa when exposed to gluten in the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Celiac Disease Article
      • Celiac disease definition
      • What causes celiac disease?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of celiac disease?
      • Are there other diseases or conditions associated with celiac disease?
      • How is celiac disease diagnosed?
      • What is latent celiac disease?
      • What is silent celiac disease?
      • What is the treatment for celiac disease?
      • What is refractory celiac disease?
      • What is the treatment for refractory celiac disease?
      • What are the complications of celiac disease?
      • What is a gluten-free diet?
    • Connective Tissue Disease Connective tissue disease is when the body's connective tissues come under attack, possibly becoming injured by inflammation....learn more »
      In This Article
      Connective Tissue Disease Article
      • What is a connective tissue disease?
      • What causes connective tissue disease?
      • What are symptoms and signs of a connective tissue disease?
      • How are connective tissue diseases diagnosed?
      • What are genetic risk factors for developing connective tissue disease?
      • What autoimmune diseases are associated with connective tissue disease?
    • Crohn's Disease Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect...learn more »
      In This Article
      Crohn's Disease Article
      • Crohn's disease facts
      • What is Crohn's disease?
      • What causes Crohn's disease?
      • How does Crohn's disease affect the intestines?
      • How is Crohn's disease different from ulcerative colitis?
      • What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease?
      • What are the complications of Crohn's disease?
      • How is Crohn's disease diagnosed?
      • How is Crohn's disease treated?
      • Crohn's Disease Medications
      • Anti-inflammatory medications
      • 5-ASA (mesalamine) oral medications
      • 5-ASA rectal medications (Rowasa, Canasa)
      • Corticosteroids
      • Budesonide (Entocort EC)
      • Antibiotics for Crohn's disease
      • Immuno-modulator medications
      • Azathioprine (Imuran) and 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP, Purinethol)
      • Infliximab (Remicade)
      • Adalimumab (Humira)
      • Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
      • Natalizumab (Tysabri)
      • Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall)
      • Surgery in Crohn's disease
      • Are there any recommendations for diet, supplementation, or vaccinations for Crohn's disease?
      • Conclusions
    • Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis, Diverticular Disease) Diverticulitis is a condition in which diverticuli in the colon rupture. The rupture results in infection in the tissues that...learn more »
      In This Article
      Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis, Diverticular Disease) Article
      • Diverticulosis and diverticulitis facts
      • What is diverticulosis?
      • What is diverticulitis?
      • What are diverticulitis symptoms?
      • What causes diverticula and how do diverticula form?
      • What are the more serious complications of diverticulitis?
      • How are the diagnosis of diverticulitis and diverticulosis made?
      • What is the treatment for diverticulitis and diverticulosis?
      • Medical treatment of diverticulitis and diverticulosis
      • Surgical treatment for diverticulitis
      • What can be done to prevent diverticulitis and diverticulosis?
    • Esophageal Cancer Esophageal cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the esophagus. Risk factors of cancer of the esophagus include...learn more »
      In This Article
      Esophageal Cancer Article
      • Esophageal cancer facts*
      • What is the esophagus?
      • What is cancer?
      • What are the types of esophageal cancer?
      • What are esophageal cancer causes and risk factors?
      • What are esophageal cancer symptoms and signs?
      • How is esophageal cancer diagnosed?
      • What are the stages of esophageal cancer?
      • What is the treatment for esophageal cancer?
      • Surgery
      • Radiation therapy
      • Chemotherapy
      • Should people get a second opinion after an esophageal cancer diagnosis?
      • What are the side effects of treatment for cancer of the esophagus?
      • What follow-up care is necessary during recovery?
      • Where can people get support for esophageal cancer?
      • How can people with esophageal cancer participate in clinical trials?
      • Where can people find more information about esophageal cancer?
    • G6PD Deficiency G6PD deficiency (Glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase) leads to a condition called hemolytic anemia. Causes of G6PD deficiency is an...learn more »
      In This Article
      G6PD Deficiency Article
      • Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency facts*
      • What is glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency?
      • How common is glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency?
      • What genes are related to glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency?
      • How do people inherit glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency?
      • What other names do people use for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency?
    • Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a diseases in which blood clots within the capillaries. Causes associated with HUS include E....learn more »
      In This Article
      Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Article
      • Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) facts
      • What is a "syndrome?"
      • What is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)?
      • What causes hemolytic uremic syndrome?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome?
      • How is hemolytic uremic syndrome diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for hemolytic uremic syndrome?
      • What is the prognosis of hemolytic uremic syndrome?
      • How can hemolytic uremic syndrome be prevented?
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Intestinal Problems of IBD) The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). The intestinal complications of...learn more »
      In This Article
      Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Intestinal Problems of IBD) Article
      • Intestinal bowel disease facts
      • What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?
      • What are the intestinal complications of IBD?
      • Are the intestinal complications of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease different?
      • Do intestinal ulcers occur in IBD?
      • How are ulcers in IBD diagnosed and treated?
      • Does gastrointestinal bleeding occur in IBD?
      • How is gastrointestinal bleeding in IBD diagnosed and treated?
      • How do intestinal strictures form in IBD?
      • What are symptoms of intestinal strictures, and how are they diagnosed and treated?
      • What are intestinal fistulas?
      • What symptoms do fistulas cause and how are they diagnosed and treated?
      • What are fissures and how are they treated?
      • What is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)?
      • Does colon cancer occur in IBD?
      • What should be done about polyps in IBD?
      • What is toxic megacolon and what are its causes and symptoms?
      • What kind of malabsorption occurs in IBD?
    • Malaria Malaria is a disease that is spread by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Malaria symptoms include fever, chills,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Malaria Article
      • Malaria facts
      • What is malaria?
      • What causes malaria?
      • What are risk factors for malaria? Is it possible to prevent malaria?
      • What are malaria symptoms and signs?
      • How do physicians diagnose malaria?
      • What is the treatment for malaria?
      • What is the prognosis of malaria?
      • Is there a malaria vaccine?
      • Can malaria reoccur after treatment?
    • Menstruation Menstruation (menstrual cycle) is also referred to as a "period." When a woman menstruates, the lining of the uterus is shed....learn more »
      In This Article
      Menstruation Article
      • Menstruation facts*
      • What is menstruation?
      • What is the menstrual cycle?
      • What happens during the menstrual cycle?
      • What is a typical menstrual period like?
      • What kinds of problems do women have with their periods?
      • When does a girl usually get her first period?
      • How long does a woman have periods?
      • When should I see a doctor about my period?
      • How often should I change my pad/tampon?
    • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs and Ulcers Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed medications for the treatment of inflammatory conditions. Examples of...learn more »
      In This Article
      Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs and Ulcers Article
      • What are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)?
      • What are the side effects of NSAIDs?
      • How do NSAIDs work and how do they cause stomach problems?
      • If a stomach ulcer is detected, how is it treated?
      • Can NSAID-related ulcers and complications be prevented?
    • Pancreatic Cancer Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumor of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer has been called a "silent" disease because early...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pancreatic Cancer Article
      • Pancreatic cancer facts
      • What is the pancreas, and what is the function of the pancreas?
      • What is cancer?
      • What is pancreatic cancer?
      • What are pancreatic cancer causes and risk factors?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of pancreatic cancer?
      • How is the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer made?
      • How is pancreatic cancer staged?
      • What is the treatment for resectable pancreatic cancer?
      • What is the treatment for locally advanced unresectable pancreatic cancer?
      • What is the treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer?
      • What are the side effects of pancreatic cancer treatment?
      • What is the prognosis of pancreatic cancer?
      • What research is being done on pancreatic cancer?
      • Is complimentary or alternative medicine effective in pancreatic cancer treatment?
      • Can pancreatic cancer be prevented?
      • Where can people get support when coping with pancreatic cancer?
      • Where can people find additional information about pancreatic cancer?
    • Peptic Ulcer A peptic ulcer is an ulcer in the lining of the stomach, duodenum, or esophagus. Ulcer formation is related to Helicobacter...learn more »
      In This Article
      Peptic Ulcer Article
      • Peptic ulcer facts
      • What is a peptic ulcer?
      • What causes of peptic ulcers?
      • What are symptoms of peptic ulcer?
      • How are peptic ulcers diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for peptic ulcers?
      • What are the complications of peptic ulcer?
      • Peptic ulcer summary
    • Pernicious Anemia Pernicious anemia is a blood disorder in which the body does not make enough red blood cells due to a lack of vitamin B12 in the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pernicious Anemia Article
      • Pernicious anemia facts
      • What is pernicious anemia?
      • What is megaloblastic anemia?
      • What causes pernicious anemia?
      • Is pernicious anemia the same as vitamin B-12 deficiency anemia?
      • What are the symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency/ pernicious anemia?
      • How is pernicious anemia/vitamin B-12 deficiency diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for pernicious anemia and vitamin B-12 deficiency?
      • Can pernicious anemia/ vitamin B-12 deficiency be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis for pernicious anemia/ vitamin B-12 deficiency?
    • Sickle Cell Disease (Sickle Cell Anemia) Sickle cell anemia (sickle cell disease), a blood disease which shortens life expectancy, is cause by an inherited abnormal...learn more »
      In This Article
      Sickle Cell Disease (Sickle Cell Anemia) Article
      • Sickle cell anemia facts
      • What is sickle cell anemia?
      • How is sickle cell anemia inherited?
      • What conditions promote the sickling (distortion) of the red blood cells in sickle cell anemia?
      • How is sickle cell anemia diagnosed?
      • What are the symptoms and treatments of sickle cell anemia?
      • What is the outlook (prognosis) for patients with sickle cell anemia?
    • Stomach Cancer Though the cause of stomach cancer is unknown, risk factors for stomach cancer include diet, H. pylori infection, smoking age,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Stomach Cancer Article
      • Stomach cancer facts*
      • What is the stomach?
      • What is cancer, and how does stomach cancer spread?
      • What are risk factors and causes of stomach cancer?
      • What are symptoms of stomach cancer?
      • How is stomach cancer diagnosed?
      • How is staging determined?
      • What is the treatment for stomach cancer?
      • Surgery
      • Chemotherapy
      • Radiation therapy
      • How do I go about getting a second opinion?
      • What are some of the nutritional concerns of stomach cancer patients?
      • What are treatment options for cancer that blocks the digestive tract?
      • What follow-up care is necessary for stomach cancer patients? What about complementary and alternative medicine?
      • What support is there for cancer patients?
      • How can I take part in clinical trials for stomach cancer?
    • Ulcerative Colitis Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the colon. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding....learn more »
      In This Article
      Ulcerative Colitis Article
      • Ulcerative colitis facts
      • What is ulcerative colitis?
      • What causes ulcerative colitis?
      • What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
      • How is the diagnosis of ulcerative colitis made?
      • What are the complications of ulcerative colitis?
      • What are the treatments for ulcerative colitis?
      • What are ulcerative colitis medications?
      • 5-ASA Compounds
      • Systemic corticosteroids (including side effects)
      • Golimumab (Simponi)
      • What are immunomodulator medications?
      • Summary of medication treatment
      • Surgery for ulcerative colitis
      • Treatment by disease severity and location (based on ACG Practice Guidelines)
      • Are there any special dietary requirements for persons with ulcerative colitis?
      • What research is being done regarding ulcerative colitis?
    • Vaginal Bleeding Normal vaginal bleeding (menorrhea) occurs through the process of menstruation. Abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are...learn more »
      In This Article
      Vaginal Bleeding Article
      • Vaginal bleeding facts
      • What is normal vaginal bleeding?
      • What is abnormal vaginal bleeding?
      • What conditions cause abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are ovulating regularly?
      • What conditions cause vaginal bleeding after menopause or abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are not ovulating regularly?
      • What causes vaginal bleeding during or after sexual intercourse?
      • What causes abnormal vaginal bleeding during pregnancy?
      • What diagnostic tests are used to evaluate abnormal vaginal bleeding?
      • How is irregular vaginal bleeding treated?
Other Causes of Anemia
Examples of Medications for Anemia


Symptoms & Signs A-Z List