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Causes Of Anemia, Trauma And Surgery, Low Red Blood Cell Production, Aplastic Anemia, Megaloblastic AnemiaSickle cell anemia, Others

Anemia means literally lack of blood. In fact it is a reduction in the number of red blood cells, plasma, or packed red blood cells to a level that is lower than necessary for normal functioning. This is the result of the inability to replace lost cells or plasma volume at the rate they are being lost. The underlying cause for anemia may be one of several conditions.

Although blood cell levels are not lowered in sickle cell anemia, the blood cells may be nonfunctional at times, resulting in oxygen starvation of some body tissues.

There are many other kinds of anemias, though they are rarely seen. Those discussed are the most common types. Others include a form called spherocytosis, which, as the name implies, results in a spherical form of red blood cells resulting from an abnormality in the cell membrane; a similar form called elliptocytosis; and others resulting from decreased or abnormal hemoglobin production.



Friedland, I. "The Anemia Epidemic." Working Mother 16 (July, 1993): 18.


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD. Publications on anemia and sickle cell anemia.

Larry Blaser


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Bone marrow

—A spongy tissue located in the hollow centers of certain bones, such as the skull and hip bones. Bone marrow is the site of blood cell generation.

Hemolytic anemia

—Hemolytic means destruction of the blood cell, an abnormal rate of which may lead to lowered levels of these cells.


—The normal, nearly monthly bleeding cycle experienced by women of childbearing age. It is the result of lack of a fertilized egg that triggers the loss of the lining of the uterus (womb) and subsequent bleeding.


—An organ lying just under the diaphragm in the abdomen that removes old or damaged blood cells from circulation. The spleen is not a critical organ and can be removed if necessary.

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