Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.
Normally, red blood cells last for about 120 days before the body gets rid of them. In hemolytic anemia, red blood cells in the blood are destroyed earlier than normal.
Anemia - hemolytic
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Hemolytic anemia occurs when the bone marrow is unable to replace the red blood cells that are being destroyed.
Immune hemolytic anemia occurs when the immune system mistakenly sees your own red blood cells as foreign substances. Antibodies then develop against the red blood cells. These antibodies attack the red blood cells and cause them to break down too early.
The body may also destroy red blood cells because of:
Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.