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Complications of Anemia

Mild anemia can cause fatigue and decreased physical capacity.

A reduction in red blood cells decreases the ability to absorb oxygen from the lungs and can cause secondary organ damage including heart failure and heart arrhythmias.

Certain forms of anemia that are inherited like thalassemia, sickle-cell or pernicious anemia can be life threatening.

Anemia in the elderly has be shown to cause decreased strength in the elderly and increase risk of falls. It’s effect on the heart can increase the severity of cardiac conditions including decreased survival rates from heart attacks and heart failure. It may lead to cognitive impairment or worsen existing dementia.

Anemia in cancer patients and patients effects by kidney disease can be serious and can be associated with higher mortality rates and in patients with kidney disease an increase in heart disease.

The combination of heart failure and anemia can increase the risk of hospitalization or death by 30-60%. In patients with CHF whose hemoglobin levels decline do worse that patients who have stable levels.

Another complications is iron overload which can occur in patients who receive frequent blood transfusions. 

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