Hemolytic Anemia Types

Every disease in the world has various types, and hemolytic anemia is no different. This blood-related disease has various types, and depending on these, the treatment is formulated. There are two categories that segregate the types of hemolytic anemia. They are inherited or acquired hemolytic anemias. Inherited hemolytic anemia means the disease was passed on to you genetically by your parents, which means that you have had it since birth because your parents or one of your parents had it. The acquired one simply means the opposite. You acquire hemolytic anemia due to some extrinsic or external reasons that may be known or unknown.

Types of Hemolytic Anemia

Different Types of Hemolytic Anemia

There are several types of hemolytic anemia that can be classified based on their underlying causes. Here are some of the main types:

1. Inherited Hemolytic Anemia

Hemolytic anemia, in which one or more genes that control the production of red blood cells are detected as faulty, is called inherited hemolytic anemia. This leads to unhealthy blood cells that may perish well before their actual lives.

  • Thalassemia
  • This is a classic case of inherited hemolytic anemia, which comes to a child genetically. Hemoglobin is a major component of blood, and there are various types of hemoglobin. All types of hemoglobin are really essential for good blood health. When the body fails to produce all these types of hemoglobin or fails to produce an adequate quantity of them, a person suffers from thalassemia.
  • Hereditary Spherocytosis
  • In this condition, the red blood cells become spherical or circular in shape due to an outer membrane defect. This again shortens the lifespan of these kinds of cells.
  • Hereditary Elliptocytosis (Ovalocytosis)
  • It is related to the cell membrane and the shape of the red blood corpuscles. In this condition, the body produces elliptical or oval-shaped red blood corpuscles, which are not really acceptable for smooth blood flow. Their flexibility is so low that they can’t even be categorized as red blood cells. Their lifespan is also really short, making them a liability for the body.
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) Deficiency
  • A deficiency of G3PD, a fundamental enzyme in the blood, causes blood cells to rupture when they come into proximity with other substances. This sudden shortening and bursting of blood cells is due to a lack of that enzyme. This occurs mainly due to excessive anti-malarial drugs, and genetically, it occurs more in African Americans.
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • This is a very strange but dangerous condition of the inherited type in which the body produces abnormal hemoglobin. The shape of the hemoglobin in this condition is like a sickle or a crescent moon (semi-circle). The lifespan of these averages 12 days, which is horrendous for the blood. Also, in this condition, the bone marrow fails to generate adequate RBC to match the body’s demand for it.
  • Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency
  • Red blood cells are strong and hold on for a longer period of time due to an enzyme called pyruvate. In this condition, this enzyme is provided in smaller quantities to the red blood cells. This causes the red blood cells to break down far sooner than their normal lifespan, causing a major lack of RBC in the blood and the body.

2. Acquired Hemolytic Anemia

In this condition, the red blood cells are in perfect shape and health, but due to external factors like other disorders and diseases, the spleen is forced to destroy these cells and reduce their numbers.

  • Immune Hemolytic Anemia
  • Hemolytic anemia, in which the body’s immune system destroys the red blood cells, is called Immune Hemolytic Anemia. There are three types of it:
    • Drug-induced Hemolytic Anemia
    • There are many medicines that we consume that cause side effects and unnecessary reactions. With certain medicines, like penicillin, reactions do happen. One such reaction occurs when this penicillin binds to the surface of the red blood cells, causing or forcing the creation of harmful and unnecessary antibodies. In the majority of cases, analgesic and anti-inflammatory medicines cause this disease after reacting with the blood and body.
    • Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA)
    • In an unknown process, in AHIA, the immune system sends protein-based antibodies to destroy the blood cells. Half of the cases of the disease are of this type. Diseases that increase the risk of such diseases are lupus, lymphocytic leukemia, blood cancers, Mycoplasma pneumonia, hepatitis, and the human immunodeficiency virus, to name a few.
    • Alloimmune Hemolytic Anemia
    • It occurs when the body’s biological system destroys blood cells that you acquire from blood transfusions by creating antibodies. When a blood type that is different than yours is transfused into you, this process occurs. It occurs in women as well when they have Rh-negative blood and the child they are bearing has Rh-positive blood.
  • Mechanical Hemolytic Anemia
  • The cell membranes ought to break down when they are subjected to physical damage. One such example is hiking or rock climbing, where excessive fatigue of the limbs causes cell membranes to get damaged. Damage may occur due to a change in blood vessels of smaller size, valves and devices in the body’s mechanism (pacemaker), valves used after open heart surgery, and an increase in blood pressure in pregnant women.
  • Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria
  • PNH is a condition in which, due to the deficiency of certain proteins, the blood cells fail to function or become faulty. These cells are destroyed really quickly by the body, and this causes lots of blood clots and a reduction in white blood cell levels.
  • Diseases
  • In many cases, dreadful diseases cause the red blood cells incessant damage that eventually causes hemolytic anemia. Some of those diseases are Malaria, snake bites, excessive toxicity in the body, and a lack of iron in the body.


These are just a few examples of the many types of hemolytic anemia. Each type has its own specific causes, mechanisms, and clinical features, and they require different approaches to diagnosis and management. If you suspect you have this disease, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.


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