Hemolytic anemia is a blood disorder that typically happens when your red blood cells break down or die faster than your body can replace them with new blood cells.
Hemolytic anemia can develop quickly or slowly, and it can be mild or serious.
People may develop hemolytic anemia by inheriting genetic conditions that cause anemia, certain infections and certain medications.
Sometimes, people have mild hemolytic anemia symptoms that go away after treatment. Many times, healthcare providers can cure hemolytic anemia after finding out what caused the condition. Left untreated, however, severe hemolytic anemia can cause serious heart trouble.
Red blood cells normally live for about 120 days. When they break down or die sooner than that, your bone marrow doesn’t have time to produce enough new red blood cells, leaving you with a low red blood cell count. Other anemia types may occur when:
- Injury or illness causes excessive bleeding that drains your red blood cell supply faster than your body can replace it.
- Something affects red blood cell production so your body either produces fewer red blood cells or produces abnormal red blood cells.
Hemolytic anemia is less common than anemia caused by excessive bleeding or slow red blood cell production.