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Alternative Names Return to topAnemia of inflammation
Definition Return to top
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
Causes Return to top
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 Return to top
You may not notice symptoms if you have another disease.
Possible symptoms include:
Exams and Tests Return to top
The doctor will perform a physical examination.
Tests that may be done to diagnose anemia or rule out other causes include:
Treatment Return to top
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.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The anemia will improve when the disease that is causing it is successfully treated.
Possible Complications Return to top
Discomfort from symptoms is the main complication in most cases.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have a chronic disorder and you develop symptoms of anemia.
References Return to top
Ginder GD. Microcytic and hypochromic anemias. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 163.Update Date: 4/5/2009 Updated 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.