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Anemia of chronic disease

Anemia of chronic disease, a mild-to-moderate anemia seen with many infections and inflammatory disorders, is the second most prevalent type after anemia caused by iron deficiency.

Anemia of chronic disease occurs inpatients with acute or chronic immune activation; thus, thecondition is also known as anemia of inflammation.

Anemia of chronic disease is characterized by a shortened survival of RBCs, caused either by a disturbance of the iron metabolism or by resistance to erythropoietin action.1

Generally, Anemia of chronic disease develops one or two months after development of a disease. As Anemia of chronic disease starts slowly and is generally mild, it usually produces few or no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they usually result from the disease causing the anemia rather than from the anemia itself. The severity of its symptoms is proportional to the severity of the underlying disease.


The main causes of this Anemia of chronic disease include the following:


Usually, Anemia of chronic disease is recognized during the management of the primary disease. Patients with Anemia of chronic disease have low serum iron but high serum ferritin levels.



The anemia itself seldom requires treatment and is usually ameliorated by successful treatment of the underlying disease. In more severe cases, transfusions of recombinant erythropoietin can be helpful.

Related topics:

Iron deficiency anemia

Aemia in pregnancy

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: July 03,  2011