Search Autoimmune Association

What is Hemolytic anemia

Hemolytic anemia  autoimmune hemolytic anemia is an autoimmune disorder which causes the premature destruction of red blood cells. A normal red blood cell has a lifespan of approximately 120 days before the spleen removes it from circulation. Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow and released into circulation. In persons with autoimmune hemolytic anemia, the red blood cells are destroyed prematurely; and bone marrow production of new cells cannot make up for their loss. The severity of this disorder is determined by the length of time the red blood cell survives and by the capability of the bone marrow to continue red blood cell production.

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) occurs when your immune system makes antibodies that attack your red blood cells. This causes a drop in the number of red blood cells, leading to hemolytic anemia.[1][2][3][4] Symptoms may include unusual weakness and fatigue with tachycardia and breathing difficulties, jaundice, dark urine and/or splenomegaly. AIHA can be primary (idiopathic) or result from an underlying disease or medication.[2] The condition may develop gradually or occur suddenly. There are two main types of autoimmune hemolytic anemia: warm antibody hemolytic anemia and cold antibody hemolytic anemia.[2][3][4] Treatment may include corticosteroids such as prednisone, splenectomy, immunosuppressive drugs and/or blood transfusions.[3] In many cases, the cause of autoimmune hemolytic anemia remains unknown.[2][3][4] Some researchers believe that there are multiple factors involved, including genetic and environmental influences (multifactorial).[2] In a very small number of cases, autoimmune hemolytic anemia appears to run in families. In these cases, it appears to follow an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance.[5] This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD). https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/5870/autoimmune-hemolytic-anemia

Looking for more information?

Many of our partner organizations specialize in support for specific autoimmune diseases and have additional resources, research and care-management information available.

NEW WEBSITE:

Welcome, and thank you for visiting our brand-new website!

We’re excited to be launching the site with new content and features created to provide you with the information you are seeking.

Learn More