December 10, 2023

Normal red blood cells

Anemia is a decreased amount of hemoglobin in the blood. This can be due to a decrease in the number of red blood cells (RBCs) in your blood or a decrease in the amount of hemoglobin in each RBC. Hemoglobin is a protein that allows RBCs to store oxygen and deliver it to the body. Because the body uses oxygen to make energy, a person with anemia has less oxygen in their blood which can make them feel tired or short of breath.

Anemia can be caused by anything that decreases the number of RBCs in your blood or the amount of hemoglobin found in each RBC. In some situations, a person may have more than one reason for developing anemia.

The causes of anemia are often divided into three groups:

  1. Conditions where not enough RBCs are produced.
  2. Conditions where RBCs cannot mature normally.
  3. Conditions where RBCs are removed from the bloodstream faster than normal (less than 120 days).

Common types of anemia

Anemia of chronic disease
Hemolytic anemia
Iron deficiency anemia
Megaloblastic anemia

About this article

Doctors wrote this article to assist you in reading and comprehending your pathology report. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions about this article or your pathology report. To get a comprehensive introduction to your pathology report, read this article.

Other helpful resources

Atlas of pathology
Government of Quebec – Iron-rich foods
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