Causes of Hemolytic Anemia

Anemia is a medical condition in which there is a lack of hemoglobin in the blood. There are many different types of anemia, of which hemolytic anemia is more common than the others. This is a type of anemia in which the natural life cycle of red blood cells is decreased, or in other words, the red blood cells are destroyed too early. As the red blood cells are thus removed from the blood before their natural lifespan ends, it causes a lack of oxygen in the body, and the person experiences symptoms of anemia along with a drastically reduced stamina.

Often the exact hemolytic anemia causes are not known. However, there are many diseases which affect red blood cells. There are also certain risk factors that increase the probability of someone developing hemolytic anemia. Here are some of the most common causes and risk factors.

  • Genetic Hemolytic Anemia: Our body has certain genes that control the formation of red blood cells. These genes are responsible for the synthesis of faulty red blood cells, or the red blood cells that do have an unnatural lifespan. This gene can be passed on from one or both parents. There are many different kinds of genetic hemolytic anemia as well. Different genes control different characteristics of the blood, and problems with any of these genes may result in abnormal hemoglobin or cell membranes. It is also possible that the enzymes required to synthesize and destroy red blood cells may also be faulty due to a defective gene.
  • Immune Disorders: There are a lot of autoimmune disorders that could cause the premature destruction of red blood cells. When the immune system turns on your own body, it could not only damage organs, but the constituents of your blood as well.
  • Infections: Bacterial, fungal and viral infections could also affect the synthesis and destruction of red blood cells, affecting their lifespan and shortening it. As the infection goes on untreated, more and more red blood cells may be affected, eventually causing hemolytic anemia. As the infection is treated, it is possible that the anemia may subside as well. This is usually known as acquired hemolytic anemia.
  • Blood Transfusions: Transfusion of blood which contains deformed or faulty red blood cells could cause hemolytic anemia, but such anemia is usually temporary.
  • Hyperplenism: This is a condition in which the spleen is damaged or enlarged. A damaged or diseased spleen is not able to synthesize the normal amount of red blood cells required for the normal functioning of the body.
  • Protein Abnormalities: Red blood cells are synthesized from proteins. If the raw materials or proteins are faulty, the red blood cells will also not be normal.