Anemia is when the number
of red blood cells in the body gets too low. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin,
a protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. Without enough red blood cells,
oxygen doesn't get to the body's organs. Without enough oxygen, the organs can't work
Hemolytic (hee-muh-LIT-ik) anemia is a type of anemia that happens when red blood
cells break down faster than the body can make them.
Depending on the type of hemolytic anemia, symptoms can be mild or very severe.
There are treatments that can help.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Hemolytic Anemia?
Symptoms of hemolytic anemia may be mild and slowly get worse, or become severe
quickly. Someone with hemolytic anemia might:
be very tired
feel dizzy or lightheaded
have a fast heartbeat
breathe fast or feel short of breath
(yellow skin and eyes)
have an enlarged spleen
have dark, tea-colored pee
What Causes Hemolytic Anemia?
There are many different causes for hemolytic anemia. Some causes are inherited
(passed from parents to children) and some are not.
autoimmune hemolytic anemia: This happens when the infection-fighting
immune system attacks red blood cells. Some medicines or an infection can trigger
this as well some autoimmune diseases like lupus.
mechanical hemolytic anemia: This happens when something destroys
red blood cells, such as:
Sometimes hemolytic anemia goes away with treatment and never comes back. But in
some children, it causes ongoing medical problems. Many of these are treatable. The
hematologist can help parents understand the details of their child's hemolytic anemia
and recommend the best treatment.
If your child has hemolytic anemia, you can help by: