What is hemolytic anemia?

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2020 | SSDI

Hemolytic anemia is a condition that affects your red blood cells. RBCs are responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to your body tissues. Anemia is the condition of having too few red blood cells. Hemolysis is the process by which the body breaks down old RBCs. 

Therefore, hemolytic anemia occurs when your body breaks down old red blood cells faster than it can produce new ones to replace them, and you have too few RBCs in your bloodstream as a result. Hemolytic anemia may qualify you for Social Security Disability. 

Symptoms of hemolytic anemia 

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, hemolytic anemia can affect your heart. It can cause tachycardia, which is an abnormally fast heart rate, or it may cause a murmur, which is an abnormal heart sound. It may cause changes to the skin, causing it to become pale or yellowish. You may experience confusion, dizziness or fever. You may grow so weak that you cannot withstand any physical activity. It is important for you to see a doctor for a conclusive diagnosis because the symptoms may mimic those of other blood disorders. 

Causes of hemolytic anemia 

Hemolytic anemia can have either acquired or inherited causes. Acquired causes are those not present from birth. They include diseases such as autoimmune disorder, blood cancers or infections. Red blood cells can become damaged by a mechanical heart valve, and hemolytic anemia can result. Some medications, such as antimalarial drugs, can also contribute to hemolytic anemia. 

Inherited hemolytic anemia results from a genetic abnormality that parents pass on to their children. The condition is present from birth. Thalassemia and sickle-cell anemia are congenital conditions that each cause the body to produce abnormal red blood cells that do not live as long as they would under normal circumstances. These are the two most common causes of inherited hemolytic anemia.