All Types of Anemia with Full Anemia Definition Chart and Diagnosis

Types of Anemia with Full Anemia Definition is an approach to indicate the type of anemia using your laboratory results.
What you will find I this article:

  1. How can medicine classify each type of anemia?
  2. Can lab results predict the type of anemia?
  3. How can doctors deal with anemia when following blood test results?
  4. Define different types of anemia.

Different Anemia Types Definitions

Common Anemia definition is a medical condition characterized by a decrease in RBCs, hemoglobin, and hematocrit below the normal range for healthy people of the same age, sex, and race, and under similar environmental conditions.
Early Anemia signs include high ferritin level and normal iron level in the blood results as well as general weakness and fatigue.
Iron Deficiency Anemia definition is the commonest type of anemia worldwide, it’s a condition in which human blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells because of inadequate iron levels to produce the cell’s hemoglobin.

  • Mild iron deficiency is unnoticed in CBC test results, however you may find low iron and normal hemoglobin,
  • but moderate iron deficiency anemia shows markedly decreased iron, iron stores (low ferritin), and hemoglobin, however iron deficiency anemia show general weakness and fatigue as well as pallor appearance.
  • Medical short form is IDA.
  • Best cure for iron deficiency anemia is dietary changes and Iron supplements, severe iron deficiency is curable after blood transfusion to raise hemoglobin levels firstly.

What is sickle cell anemia? define sickle cell anemia
Sickle Cell Anemia definition is a severe hereditary anemia that is common between African people, describe a group of inherited abnormal hemoglobin disorders.

  • Characterized by a crescent shaped red blood cells which have low ability to move and therfore block vessels, inability to carry enough oxygen and low life span in compared to those normal ones.
  • Medical short form of: SCA
  • What is the type of mutation that causes sickle cell anemia?
    What causes SCA anemia?
    Sickle cell anemia mutation is a change in one nucleotide in the gene for hemoglobin. Therefore, the hemoglobin in red blood cells distort to a sickle shape when deoxygenated.

Symptoms of sickle cell anemia:

  • Sickle cell crises is a medical term for Episodes of Pain due to SCA anaemia complications when blood vessels to any part of the body become blocked as a result of precipitation of illness RBCs.
  • Sickle cell pain may become severe and lasts for up to about 7 days.
  • Part of the body affected by sickle cell pain and crises, such as the: hands or feet (particularly in young children), legs and arms, pelvis, spine, ribs and breastbone.

What cure is for sickle cell anemia?

  1. A doctor visit every year is good recommendation for adult and kids over 2 years old.
  2. Reduce complications by rapid initiation of opioids for the treatment of vasoocclusive crisis.
  3. Also analgesics and physical therapy is for the treatment of avascular necrosis.
  4. Blood transfusion therapy to increase hemoglobin levels to 10 g/dL.
  5. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the best cure for sickle cell Anemia.

Thalassemia defintion
It is an inherited blood disease in which the RBCs hemoglobin is abnormal
Inherited means passed from parents to children through genes.
Types of thalassemia and causes:
Alpha thalassemia occurs when alpha globin protein genes are missing or changed or mutated.
Beta thalassemia occurs when the beta globin protein production is affected by similar gene defects.
Best Treatment:

  • Moderate or severe thalassemia treatment is blood transfusions.
  • Iron Chelation Therapy.
  • Folic Acid Supplements.
  • Transplantation of Blood and Marrow Stem Cell.

Define aplastic anemia
Aplastic anemia is a medical condition that occurs when the human body stops producing new blood cells. Aplastic anemia therefore causing Pancytopenia which is a deficiency of all three blood cell types: red blood cells count (its medical term is anemia), white blood cells count (its medical term is leukopenia), and platelets count (its medical term is thrombocytopenia).
Onset of Aplastic anemia: may be brief or become chronic, may come on suddenly or progress slowly over months.
Aplastic anemia can be deadly when it is severe and last for long time or due to receiving a treatment with a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor
Causes of Aplastic Anemia: there’re three main causes of this types of anemic forms;

  1. Autoimmune illness at which the body’s cells begin to attack themselves without an obvious reason, therefore Aplastic Anemia is a secondary disease.
  2. After some treatment: prolonged and wrong usage of antibiotics can cause Aplastic Anemia, also treatment programs for rheumatoid arthritis is another reason.
  3. Viral infections therefore can initiate Anaemic forms.

Treatment of Aplastic Anaemia:
Aplastic Anemia can be curable by:

  • Blood transfusion
  • Immune system suppressant which can’t cure Aplastic Anemia but can be beneficial to reduce complications.
  • Receive a bone marrow transplant from a sibling survive.

What is Hemolytic Anemia?
Hemolytic anemia definition is a medical condition in which RBCs is destroyed and/or removed from circulation before completing its normal life span, yellowish face appearance is a strong marker of severe hemolytic anemia due to elevated bilirubin levels in the blood.
What causes hemolytic anemia?
What is hemolysis and why does it occur?

  1. When red blood cells rupture or destroyed forcedly due to accidents or trauma to vessels.
  2. Infections by streptococcus species.
  3. Some pain relieving treatments lead to hemolysis of blood cells as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  4. Inherited hemolytic anemia.
  5. Babies born with hemolytic anemia due to rapid destruction of their blood cells.

The cure of hemolytic anemia depends on the causative agent.
Pernicious anemia definition is a reduction in red blood cells count due to poor absorption of vitamin B12 by intestines
Causes: lack of the protein intrinsic factor (IF) which medicates Vitamin B12 absorption, however celiac disease and intestine ulcers may lead to IF deficiency.
Best treatment for pernicious anemia:
The medical term “pernicious” means “deadly”, this is because of difficulty of vitamin B12 therapy before, but now it’s easy to take Vitamin b12 injections.
What does anemic mean?

Clinical classifications systems of types of anemia

  • Retics, Mcv, and RDW approach.
  • Causing agent approach: the three main types of anemia are due to blood loss, decreased red blood cell production, and increased red blood cell breakdown.
  • Common anemia types by age and condition.

Common types of anemia chart by age:
Types of Children Anemia

  • Anemia due to poor diet.
  • Anemia following the infection by worms such as the Enterobius vermicularis and giardia lambilia.
  • Iron deficiency anemia due to growth demands during childhood and adolescence.
  • Kids born with abnormal hemoglobin diseases such as Sickle cell anemia, thalassemia,

Types of Women Anemia
Mixed Iron deficiency anemia, Vitamin B12 and folate deficiency due to lactation, during pregnancy, and menses.
Old men and women anemia types

  • Anemia due to chronic Inflammation
  • The Anemia due to age diseases such as patients with liver or kidney illness.

Anemia types of any age

  • Anemia due to leukemia and following chemotherapy treatment
  • Prolonged inflammation or long lasting treatment is a causative of anemia
  • Bleeding due to any reason.

What is the difference between hemorrhage and hemolysis?
Hemorrhage means bleeding but hemolysis means red blood cells rupture.

CBC Blood Test system to know the Types of Anemia

The best anemia classification is the system based on the absolute reticulocytes count.
Reticulocytes are cells which newly released from the bone marrow at which cells are made.
Those cells develop after the nucleated red blood cells lose their nucleus at the end of maturation stages, reticulocyte circulate through the bloodstream 1 or 2 days before developing into mature red blood cell.
The absolute reticulocytes count indicates bone marrow regeneration and compensation rate during blood loss and anemia.

What does it mean when I have low hemoglobin level and high reticulocytes count?
Low hemoglobin values mean anemia, and high reticulocytes means how fast bone marrow make new red blood cells instead of the lost ones during bleeding or acute anemia.
As a result, both anemia and high reticulocytes count indicate excessive blood loss, RBCs loss causes include:
Acute hemorrhage such as Acute gastrointestinal bleeding (Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB)) and Cerebral hemorrhage which is a bleeding inside the brain tissue.
Red blood cells Hemolysis, which can be caused through two paths:
1- Intrinsic causes:

  • RBC Membrane defects
  • Hemoglobinopathies
  • Hb E disease/trait
  • Enzyme deficiencies

2- Extrinsic causes:

  • Immune hemolytic anemias
  • Microangiopathic hemolytic anemias (TTP, HUS, DIC)
  • Macroangiopathic hemolytic anemias (traumatic cardiac hemolysis)
  • Infectious agents (malaria, babesiosis)
  • Drugs, chemicals, venoms, extensive burns

What is meaning of low hemoglobin level and low or normal reticulocytes count?

Low hemoglobin always indicate anemia; however low or normal reticulocytes count means decreased or ineffective RBC production by bone marrow.
So that, to know what is the type of anemia that is caused by a faulty red cells production, we should learn another indicator of anemia type which is called MCV.
MCV means mean corpuscular volume and indicates the average size of red blood cells.
First condition: If MCV is low (less than 80 fL),
it means the red cells that produced by bone marrow is small in size which has a medical term “microcytosis”.
The types of microcytic anemia:

  • iron deficiency anemia (IDA) which caused by low iron level in the blood in compared to normal iron levels.
  • inability to utilize iron (chronic inflammatory states),
  • globin synthesis defect (thalassemia Hb E disease/trait),
  • and heme synthesis defect (sideroblastic anemia, lead poisoning).

All microcytic anemia types are caused by conditions that result in reduced hemoglobin synthesis.
Second condition:
When MCV is high (over 100 fL), it means the bone marrow produce red cells that looks larger than normal size of RBCs, the medical term for high MCV is “macrocytosis”
Types of Macrocytic Anemia:

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency caused by Pernicious Anemia.
  • Folate deficiency anemia that is due to malabsorption secondary to inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Aplastic anemia which means bone marrow failure to produce cells.
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Erythroleukemia
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Some drugs

All megaloblastic anemias are caused by such conditions that impair synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
Third Condition:
When MCV results are between 80 and 100 fL, it means normal RBCs size or the CBC test rule out a dimorphic population of microcytes and macrocytes. The medical term for normal MCV is “normocytic”.
The causes of normocytic anemia:
Hemolytic anemia that comes from premature destruction and shortened survival of RBCs, whereas there is elevated reticulocyte count and normal MCV but with elevated RDW.
Have you known the RDW meaning? what is RDW?
Fourth Condition: Decreased RBCs production which characterized by decreased reticulocyte count and normal MCV.
Causes of normocytic anemia with low reticulocytes count

  • Aplastic anemia
  • Anemia of renal disease
  • Myelophthisic anemia
  • Infection (parvovirus B19)
  • Anemia of chronic inflammation

Pathophysiologic Classification of Types of Anemia

Types of anemia by the causative agent of anemia
First type:
Anemia Types which come from Decreased Production of Red Blood Cells
Hematopoietic stem cell failure: acquired and hereditary aplastic anemia.
Functional impairment of erythroid progenitors:

  1. The Disturbance of DNA synthesis: megaloblastic anemia.
  2. Disturbance of hemoglobin synthesis: iron deficiency anemia, thalassemia, sideroblastic anemia, anemia of chronic inflammation.
  3. Proliferation and differentiation of erythroid precursors: anemia of renal failure, anemia associated with marrow infiltration.

Second type:
Anemia Types come from Increased Red Blood Cell Destruction or Loss
Intrinsic abnormality

  1. Membrane defect: hereditary spherocytosis, hereditary elliptocytosis, pyropoikilocytosis, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.
  2. Enzyme deficiency: glucose­6­phosphate dehydrogenase defciency, pyruvate kinase deficiency.
  3. Globin abnormality: sickle cell anemia, other hemoglobinopathies .

Extrinsic abnormality

  1. Immune causes: warm­type autoimmune hemolytic anemia, cold agglutinin disease, paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, transfusion reaction, hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn.
  2. Nonimmune red blood cell injury: microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, hemolytic uremic syndrome, Hemolysis, elevated-liver-enzymes-and-low-platelets syndrome (HELLP syndrome), disseminated intravascular coagulation), macroangiopathic hemolytic anemia (traumatic cardiac hemolysis), infectious antigens (malaria, babesiosis, bartonellosis, clostridial sepsis), other injury (chemicals, drugs, venoms, extensive burns)
  3. Blood loss: acute blood loss anemia.

Quick dictionary definition of medical terms used in this article

  • DIC, Disseminated intravascular coagulation;
  • Hb, hemoglobin;
  • HUS, hemolytic uremic syndrome;
  • RBC, red blood cell;
  • TTP, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.
  • SCA, Sickle cell Anemia or sickle cell disease.
  • IDA, Iron deficiency anemia or disease.
Summary for different types of anemia:
  • Clinical diagnosis of anemia is based on history, physical examination, signs, symptoms, and laboratory test results.
  • Many anemias have common manifestations.
  • Careful questioning of the patient may reveal contributing factors such as diet, medications, occupational hazards, and bleeding history.
  • A thorough physical examination is valuable in determining the cause of anemia. Some of the areas that should be evaluated are skin, nail beds, eyes, mucosa, lymph nodes, heart, and size of the spleen and liver.
  • Moderate types of anemia may not manifest clinical symptoms if the onset is slow.
  • Severe types of anemia at which the hemoglobin concentration is less than 7 g/dL usually produce symptoms such as pallor, dyspnea, vertigo, headache, muscle weakness, lethargy, hypotension, and tachycardia.
  • Laboratory procedures helpful in the diagnosis of anemia include CBC with RBC indices and RDW, reticulocyte count, examination of the peripheral blood film with emphasis on RBC morphology.


  • How to know you are anemic?
  • Anemia Levels Chart.
  • Low Iron levels explained.

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Dr.Megan Ralf

A Medical laboratory Scientist who devoted his life to medical and laboratory sciences, writes his everyday expertise dealing with various pathological conditions through laboratory diagnosis of different body fluids, also participating in many workshops for first aids, infection control, and urgent care. Also Dr Megan Ralf coaching many medical teams.

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