Anemia of chronic disease

Alternative Names

Anemia of inflammation

Definition of Anemia of chronic disease

Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues. There are many types of anemia.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Anemia is a condition in which there is a lower than normal number of red blood cells in the blood. Certain chronic infections, inflammatory diseases, and other illnesses can affect the body’s ability to produce red blood cells.


Anemia of chronic disease is often mild and you may not notice symptoms, other than from the chronic disease itself.

Signs and tests

The doctor will perform a physical examination.


The anemia is often mild enough that it requires no treatment, and will generally get better when the disease that is causing it is treated.

Expectations (prognosis)

The anemia will improve when the disease that is causing it is successfully treated.


James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/21/2010

Blood cells

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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