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Anemia of chronic disease

  • Definition
    • Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues. There are many types of anemia.

      Anemia of chronic disease (ACD) is anemia that is found in people with certain long-term (chronic) medical conditions that involve inflammation.

  • Alternative Names
    • Anemia of inflammation; Inflammatory anemia; AOCD; ACD

  • Causes
  • Symptoms
    • Anemia of chronic disease is often mild. You may not notice any symptoms.

      When symptoms occur, they may include:

      • Feeling weak or tired
      • Headache
      • Paleness
      • Shortness of breath
  • Exams and Tests
  • Treatment
    • Anemia is often mild enough that it does not need treatment. It will likely get better when the disease that is causing it is treated.

      The condition is rarely severe enough to need a blood transfusion.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • The anemia will improve when the disease that is causing it is treated.

  • Possible Complications
    • Discomfort from symptoms is the main complication in most cases. Anemia may lead to a higher risk for death in people with heart failure.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • Call your health care provider if you have a long-term (chronic) disorder and you develop symptoms of anemia.

  • References
    • Ferri FF. Inflammatory anemia. In: Ferri FF, ed. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2016. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:703-704.

      Little JA, Benz EJ Jr, Gardner LB. Anemia of chronic diseases. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 35.