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Chronic anemia, also called anemia of chronic disease or ADC, is a type of anemia that arises as a result of chronic diseases that interfere with the process of blood cell formation, such as neoplasms, fungal infections, viruses or bacteria, and autoimmune diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis.
Due to diseases of slow and progressive evolution, there may be changes in the process of formation of red blood cells and iron metabolism, which results in anemia, which is more frequent in hospitalized patients who are over 65 years old.
How to identify
The diagnosis of chronic anemia is based on the result of the blood count and the measurement of iron in the blood, ferritin and transferrin, because the symptoms presented by patients are usually related to the underlying disease and not to the anemia itself said.
So, for the diagnosis of ADC, the doctor analyzes the result of the blood count, being able to verify the decrease in the amount of hemoglobin, varied size of the red blood cells and morphological changes, in addition to the result of the concentration of iron in the blood, which in most cases is reduced and the transferrin saturation index, which is also low in this type of anemia. Learn more about tests that confirm anemia.
The main causes of anemia of chronic disease are slowly evolving diseases that cause progressive inflammation, such as:
- Heart failure;
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD);
- HIV virus infection;
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus;
- Crohn's Disease;
- Multiple Myeloma;
- Renal disease.
In these situations, it is common that, due to the disease, the red blood cells begin to circulate for a shorter time in the blood, changes in iron metabolism and hemoglobin formation occur, or the bone marrow is not effective with regard to the production of new red blood cells, which results in anemia.
It is important that people diagnosed with any type of chronic disease are periodically monitored by the doctor, through physical and laboratory exams, with the objective of verifying the response to treatment and the occurrence of consequences, such as anemia, for example..
How the treatment is done
Normally, no specific treatment is established for chronic anemia, but rather for the disease responsible for this alteration.
However, when anemia is very severe, the doctor may recommend the administration of Erythropoietin, which is the hormone responsible for stimulating the production of red blood cells, or iron supplementation according to the result of the blood count and dosage of serum iron and transferrin, for example.