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A 49-year-old male asked:

i have been diagnosed with chronic anemia without iron defeciancy. my recent blood tests have shown my hematocrit value of 34.7 and my hemoglobin value is 11.3. this is about what my values have been running for about 2-3 years. i am receiving no treatmen

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Todd Mcniff
Internal Medicine 20 years experience
There : There are many potential reasons for this low-level anemia, and they range from harmless to potentially fairly serious. You may have a genetic difference in the way your body makes hemoglobin, and if that's the case, you would have always had a low hemoglobin, and likely never have had any problems. With CAD and copd, this chronic low-level anemia may make those conditions somewhat worse, but there is really little if anything to do for it. This could also be due to early kidney failure, which is often seen in patients with CAD and copd. Your kidney function tests could still be in the normal range, but your kidneys could be starting to fail. One of the functions of the kidneys is to secrete a hormone that causes your bone marrow to make red blood cells, so mild anemia is often a first sign of kidney problems. The chronic inflammation that CAD and COPD cause could also be suppressing your bone marrow from making enough red blood cells, and treating these diseases fully may help raise your hemoglobin level. Or there may be some other illness that you ahve without being aware that is causing inflammation that is suppressing your bone marrow. Your physician may have tried to determine if you are producing enough red blood cells by doing a test called a reticulocyte count, which measures the level of immature red blood cells in your body. She likely would also be interested in looking at tests like ldh and haptoglobin that are abnormal when your body makes antibodies that destroy red blood cells prematurely. Checking a vitamin b-12 and folate (folic acid) level can also be useful since both of those are needed to make red blood cells. You could also be losing blood from your gastrointestinal tract, so checking your stool for hidden blood is often performed. One more of many other potential causes is a problem with the bone marrow itself which can only be truly evaluated by taking a sample of the bone marrow if that is suggested by other tests. Your mild anemia may well be just because of your chronic CAD and copd, but unless other causes are ruled out, that assumption could be dangerous.
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 49 years experience
See below: If you hemoglobin has been stable and you do not have any other symptoms, you may leave it alone. If you have thatassemia minor, it would not require any action.

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Last updated Apr 12, 2019

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