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Anaemia is a lack of red blood cells. These important cells carry oxygen from the lungs around the body.

Anaemia is a lack of red blood cells. These important cells carry oxygen from the lungs around the body.
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Anaemia

2-minute read

Anaemia is a lack of red blood cells or haemoglobin. Red blood cells and haemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that make them red, are important because they carry oxygen from the lungs around the body. It’s important to find and treat the cause of the anaemia as well as the anaemia itself.

Symptoms of anaemia

If you have anaemia, you will feel tired and short of breath, even when doing things you could usually do easily.

You may also have a fast or irregular heartbeat, look pale, have cold feet or hands, feel dizzy or faint.

It’s important to see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Causes of anaemia

You can become anaemic if you:

  • don’t make enough healthy red blood cells in your bone marrow – this can be due to an inherited disease or bone marrow disease
  • lose red blood cells through bleeding, whether that be heavy periods, a fast bleed or one so slow you didn’t even notice it
  • have a disease that destroys red blood cells
  • lack in the nutrients required to make haemoglobin, such as iron

Diagnosis of anaemia

A blood test is usually performed to diagnose anaemia. If you have anaemia, your doctor will talk to you and examine you to work out how severe the anaemia is, and what the cause could be. You might be asked to have more tests, depending on what your doctor has learnt from talking to you and examining you.

Treatment of anaemia

The treatment depends on the cause. But there are usually two parts:

  • treating the anaemia itself
  • treating the cause of the anaemia

Prevention of anaemia

You can reduce your chances of getting anaemia by:

  • having a healthy diet
  • seeing your doctor if you are feeling unusually tired

Last reviewed: July 2018

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Top results

Iron deficiency anaemia - myDr.com.au

Iron deficiency anaemia is when lack of iron means that the blood does not produce enough haemoglobin. The iron deficiency needs to be prolonged to produce anaemia.

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Iron deficiency anaemia in children - myDr.com.au

Iron deficiency anaemia is often due to insufficient iron in the diet. Find out about prevention and treatment.

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Iron deficiency anaemia (anemia) information | myVMC

Iron deficiency anaemia is a blood disorder in which haemoglobin, used for transporting oxygen, declines due to low levels of iron in the blood.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Anaemia (iron deficiency, low iron) information | myVMC

Anaemia is a blood disorder in which there is not enough haemoglobin to transport of oxygen. It may occur due to chronic disease or iron deficiency.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Iron deficiency | Australian Red Cross Blood Service

Iron is a mineral nutrient that is essential for your body to function normally and to make haemoglobin (Hb). The treatment of iron deficiency is iron replacement therapy. Transfusion is rarely required.

Read more on Australian Red Cross Blood Service website

Sickle cell anaemia information | myVMC

Sickle cell anaemia is a blood disorder characterised by sickle-shaped red blood cells and abnormal haemoglobin, the protein which transports oxygen.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

I need to know about iron deficiency anaemia :: Transfusion resources

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is a division of the Australian Red Cross. Funded by the federal, state and territory governments of Australia to supply the community with safe, high quality blood and blood products, as well as organ and bone marrow services for transplantation.

Read more on Australian Red Cross Blood Service website

Anaemia

Anaemia describes a condition where there is a low red blood cell count or low haemoglobin level.

Read more on WA Health website

Iron deficiency anaemia overview | Australian Red Cross Blood Service

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is a division of the Australian Red Cross. Funded by the federal, state and territory governments of Australia to supply the community with safe, high quality blood and blood products, as well as organ and bone marrow services for transplantation.

Read more on Australian Red Cross Blood Service website

Childhood reflux, low iron and anaemia - Reflux Infants Support Association Inc

Long term PPI use can cause iron absorption issues. Added to refluxing picky eaters, there's a likelihood that reflux children can suffer iron deficiency.

Read more on Reflux Infants Support Association website

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