What is Hemolytic Anemia?
Hemolytic anemia is a blood disorder in which the red blood cells are destroyed prematurely. The cells are broken down at a faster rate than the bone marrow can produce new cells. The term for destruction of red blood cells is hemolysis.
Hemolysis may occur by two mechanisms:
Extravascular (most common): red cells are removed from the circulation by the mononuclear-phagocytic system either because they are intrinsically defective or because of the presence of bound immunoglobulins to their surfaces.
Intravascular: due to complement fixation, trauma, or other extrinsic factors. Examples are prosthetic cardiac valves, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, disseminated intravascular coagulation and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.
Red blood cells have a normal life span of about 120 days, at which time the old cells are destroyed and replaced by the body's natural processes. But in hemolytic anemia, produce red blood cells that do not live as long as normal red blood cells. Hemolytic anemias, which result from the increased destruction of red blood cells, are less common than anemias caused by excessive blood loss or lack of red blood cell production, or high rates of red blood cell destruction. Since a number of factors can increase red blood cell destruction, hemolytic anemias are generally identified by the disorder that brings about the premature destruction.
What types of Hemolytic Anemia are there?
These disorders are classified to inherited and acquired.
Inherited Hemolytic Anemia, one or more of the genes that control red blood cell production are faulty. The defects may involve the hemoglobin, cell membrane, or enzymes that maintain healthy red blood cells. The abnormal cells may be fragile and break down while moving through the bloodstream. If this happens, an organ called the spleen may remove the cell debris from the bloodstream. Inherited hemolytic anemias are often inherited, such as sickle cell anemia, thalassemia and hereditary spherocytosis, in addition to include G6PD Deficiency.
Acquired Hemolytic Anemia, your red blood cells may be normal. However, some other disease or factor causes the body to destroy red blood cells and remove them from the bloodstream. Acquired Hemolytic Anemias, such as Autoimmune hemolytic anemia.
What're causes of Hemolytic Anemia?
The immediate cause of hemolytic anemia is the early destruction of red blood cells. This means that red blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before their normal lifespan is up. A number of diseases, conditions, and factors can cause the body to destroy its red blood cells.
Inherited hemolytic anemias are caused by inborn defects in components of the red blood cells, the cell membrane, the enzymes, or the hemoglobin.
The causes of acquired hemolytic anemias vary, it common include: infections, such as hepatitis, cytomegalovirus, typhoid fever, escherichia coli, or streptococcus ; medications, such as penicillin, antimalaria medications, sulfa medications, acetaminophen ; autoimmune disease, such as systemic lupus erythematous (SLE, or lupus), rheumatoid arthritis, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, or ulcerative colitis ; lymphocytic leukemia or lymphoma.