Hemolytic anemia: what is it?

Anemia or anemia is called a pathological condition in which a person’s blood decreases the amount of hemoglobin and erythrocytes (but not always). If anemia develops due to destruction of red blood cells, talking about hemolytic anemia. What is it?

Hemolytic anemia is a group of diseases involving increased destruction of red blood cells (erythrocytes) and the development of a number of pathological symptoms associated, first, with anemic syndrome, and secondly, with the intoxication of an organism products of disintegration of erythrocytes. Hemolytic anemia may be congenital or acquired, and in half of the cases are idiopathic, that is, having an obscure origin, when doctors can’t determine the exact cause of the condition.

What happens in the body hemolytic anemia?

Normal red blood cells live for about 120 days, after which there is hemolysis – the destruction with the release of blood hemoglobin that is bound to a special protein in the blood and is transported for disposal to the liver and spleen. The end product of the metabolism of hemoglobin – bilirubin that are excreted from the organism with the bile.

In pathological hemolysis red blood cells are destroyed prematurely and in large volumes, from which the blood is greatly reduced. Highlighted in the course of this process, the hemoglobin and products of its exchange do not have time to disposed of, so the body begins to camourflage (developing hyperbilirubinemia). To severe intoxication be added, and manifestations of lack of oxygen in the tissues (because it is the red blood cells and hemoglobin play the function of oxygen carriers). In addition, a number of changes happening in the bone marrow. A deficiency of red blood cells leads to the fact that this hematopoietic organ begins to actively create young red cells – reticulocytes.

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Causes and types of hemolytic anemia

Congenital hemolytic anemia occur due to the following pathological processes:

  • Embryopathy, accompanied by disruption of the normal structure of red blood cells. They become oval, teardrop, too small and very vulnerable. Spleen perceives these cells as defective and trying to dispose of them. An example is the anemia Minkowski-man’s – hereditary spherocytosis in which erythrocytes have shape of a ball.
  • Fermentopathy, in which the body lacks enzymes, what to eat certain foods or drugs in the blood or erythrocytes are formed of a substance that causes hemolysis of red blood cells. A vivid example of fermentopathy is favism is a disease associated with deficiency of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and consumption of horse chestnut trees or inhalation of the pollen of their flowers.
  • Of hemoglobinopathies in which the RBCs contain «wrong» in hemoglobin, so the period of their life is reduced significantly. Examples are thalassemia, sickle-cell anemia.

Of these kinds of congenital hemolytic anemia is a hereditary hemolytic anemia that is transmitted from parents to children. In turn, acquired hemolytic anemia is almost always the result of exposure to red blood cells of some pathogenic factors. There are several options acquired hemolytic anemias:

    Гемолитическая анемия: что это такое?

  • Immune. Develop due to the fact that the immune system attacks its red blood cells (autoimmune anemia) or in the blood fall the wrong antibodies against red blood cells, for example, during blood transfusions (izoimmunnaya anemia).
  • Mechanical. Damage of red blood cells is possible with the heart surgery, installation of artificial heart valves, the long March (a so-called March hemoglobinuria).
  • Toxic. Developed under the poisons and medicines.
  • Purchased membranacei.
  • Anemia associated with damage to red blood cells by parasites (e.g. malarial parasites).
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In addition, often children develop hemolytic anemia in newborns related to the conflict between the body of the mother and child blood group or RH factor.


The symptoms and complaints that concern patients:

  • yellowness of the skin and eyes;
  • dizziness, noise in the ears;
  • shortness of breath;
  • General malaise;
  • dark urine.

Diagnosis and treatment

The appearance of the symptoms described above, you must pass a General blood and urine tests, and blood chemistry. Next, to clarify the nature of the disease, a variety of additional research: we study the morphology of erythrocytes, determined by the specific antibodies in the blood, is analyzed bone marrow etc.

Treatment of hemolytic anemia depends on the causes of disease and condition of the patient. To stop the hemolysis is used in hormone therapy and immunosuppressive drugs, remove their spleen. To reduce anemia of transfused blood products. To reduce intoxication – used procedure that allows to remove from the body the breakdown products of hemoglobin and excess iron.

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