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What causes anemia? 45 possible conditions

Anemia happens when the number of healthy red blood cells in your body is too low. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all of the body’s tissues. Read more

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia, which occurs when the body does not have enough of the mineral iron. The body needs iron to produce hemoglobin.

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2

Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia

Folic acid deficiency anemia is caused by having too little folate (vitamin B9) in your blood.

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3

Thalassemia

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin.

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4

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease. It occurs when the lining of the large intestine (colon or bowel) and the rectum become inflamed.

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5

Hookworm Infections

Hookworms are parasites that affect the small intestine and lungs. Read more about the symptoms of this infection and treatment options.

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6

Megaloblastic Anemia

Megaloblastic anemia is a blood disorder marked by the appearance of very large red blood cells that crowd out healthy cells, causing anemia.

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7

Amebiasis

Amebiasis is a parasitic infection of the intestines commonly contracted in tropical regions.

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8

Bleeding Esophageal Varices

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Find information on bleeding esophageal varices symptoms, causes, risk factors, treatment, and prevention.

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9

Hypovolemic Shock

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Hypovolemic shock (hemorrhagic shock) is a life-threatening condition that results when you lose more than 20 percent of your body's blood or fluid supply, preventing the heart from pumping sufficient blood to your body.

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10

Celiac Disease (Gluten Intolerance)

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder caused by an abnormal immune reaction to gluten. Learn about celiac disease systems, diagnosis, and treatment.

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11

Failure to Thrive

Your child may be diagnosed with failure to thrive if he or she falls below a healthy weight and shows signs of emotional underdevelopment. Typically, failure to thrive is discovered during a child's infant years. Idea...

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12

Pernicious Anemia

Pernicious anemia occurs when your body can't absorb enough vitamin B-12 to function properly. Learn about the signs and symptoms of pernicious anemia.

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13

Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland produces a hormone that controls how your cells use energy (metabolize). Hypothyroidism occurs when the body doesn't produce enough. Untreated, it can cause complications like obesity and heart disease.

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14

Malaria

Malaria is a life-threatening disease. It's typically transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito.

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15

Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. There are several types of blood cells, including red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets. Generally, leukemia refers to cancers of the WBCs. Two types o...

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16

Hemophilia A

Hemophilia A is the most common form of the blood clotting disorder hemophilia. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, nine out of 10 people with hemophilia have hemophilia A (<...

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17

Acquired Platelet Function Disorder

When your platelets don't function properly, it is known as a platelet function disorder. "Acquired" platelet function disorders may be caused by medications, diseases, or foods.

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18

Drug-Induced Immune Hemolytic Anemia

Drug-induced immune hemolytic anemia is a rare blood disorder. It occurs when medication you take leads your immune system to attack your red blood cells.

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19

Sickle Cell Anemia

Red blood cells are normally shaped like discs, which allows them to travel through blood vessels. Sickle cell disease causes sickle cells to be sickle-shaped.

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20

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins located around the anus or in the lower rectum.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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