Anemia of Chronic Disease
(Anemia of Inflammation; Hypoferremia of Inflammatory Disease; ACD)
DefinitionCertain long-term medical conditions, such as cancer and infectious and inflammatory diseases, can cause anemia. Anemia is a low level of healthy red blood cells (RBCs). RBCs carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. When red blood cells are low, the body does not get enough oxygen.
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CausesCertain illnesses will prompt your body to limit how much iron is freely available. This will prevent the infection or cancer from using the iron to grow. Unfortunately, iron is also needed to make healthy RBCs. Over time, this will lead to fewer new red blood cells. Long-term illnesses that can lead to anemia, include:
- Chronic infections, such as tuberculosis, lung abscess, and subacute endocarditis
- Noninfectious inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteomyelitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and inflammatory bowel disease
- Common childhood infections, including ear infections and urinary tract infections
- Heart failure, thyroid disease, and kidney failure
- Cancer, particularly Hodgkin’s disease, lung cancer, and breast cancer
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