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What causes anemia and shortness of breath on exertion? 31 possible conditions

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


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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Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia

Folic acid deficiency anemia is caused by having too little vitamin B9 (folate) in your blood. Folate is necessary for your body to make new red blood cells. Red blood cells are needed to carry oxygen to your organs. I...

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Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that results in excessive destruction of red blood cells (anemia). Symptoms depend on its severity, and can range from minor anemia to enlargement of organs or fetal death.

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Hookworm Infections

Hookworms are parasites that affect the small intestine and lungs. The first sign of infection is usually a rash where the parasite entered the skin, followed by diarrhea.

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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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Bleeding Esophageal Varices

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

Bleeding esophageal varices occur when swollen veins in your lower esophagus rupture and bleed due to excess pressure. This condition is a medical emergency and must be dealt with promptly.

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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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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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Pernicious Anemia

Pernicious anemia (PA) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body fails to make enough healthy red blood cells (RBCs), resulting in vitamin B-12 deficiency. Most people experience a burning or sore tongue.

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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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Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. Excessive sweating at night, fatigue, weight loss, bone pain, and easy bleeding or bruising are signs of this disease.

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Hemophilia A

Hemophilia A (factor VIII deficiency) is the most common form of the blood clotting disorder hemophilia. It can cause prolonged bleeding, tight joints, and unexplained bruising.

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Drug-Induced Immune Hemolytic Anemia

Drug-induced immune hemolytic anemia (DIIHA) is a rare blood disorder in which your immune system begins attacking your red blood cells. Symptoms include dark urine, fast heartbeat, and jaundice.

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Dissection of the Aorta

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

The aorta is a large artery that carries blood out of your heart. If you experience a dissection of the aorta, it means that blood has entered the wall of the artery, between the inner and middle layers. This can happe...

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Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are swollen veins located around the anus or in the lower rectum. Internal hemorrhoids develop within the anus; external hemorrhoids develop outside of the anus. Of the two forms...

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Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that causes granulomas, which are clumps of immune cells, to form in different organs. A skin rash is one symptom of sarcoidosis of the skin.

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Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease that causes red blood cells to have an abnormal shape, causing blood flow problems. This can lead to tissue damage and pain, as well as enlarged spleen, anemia, and other symptoms.

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End-Stage Kidney Disease

In end-stage kidney disease, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), the kidneys are functioning below 10 percent of their normal function.

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Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects plasma cells, which are the white blood cells that make antibodies. Multiple myeloma causes groups of abnormal plasma cells to accumulate in the bones, which can lead t...

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Ebola Virus and Disease

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

Ebola disease is a rare, often fatal illness. One of its late-stage symptoms is a bleeding rash over the entire body.

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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.