Definition of Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

While many parts of the body are essential to making red blood cells, most of the work is done in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the soft tissue in the center of bones that helps form blood cells.


Possible symptoms include:

Signs and tests

The doctor will perform a physical examination, and may find:


Treatment should be directed at the cause of the anemia, and may include:

Expectations (prognosis)

The outlook depends on the cause.


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. – 4/5/2009

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ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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