Which anemia symptoms are not caused by diminished red blood count (RBC) mass?

Updated: Oct 08, 2018
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Many symptoms associated with anemia are not caused by diminished RBC mass. For example, ice chewing, calf cramps, and diminished capability to perform muscular work occur in iron deficiency anemia with a hemoglobin (Hb) level of 10-11 g/dL because of depletion of iron-containing proteins other than Hb. [11] Pernicious anemia is often detected incidentally in patients who are asymptomatic despite an Hb level as low as 6 g/dL.

Tolerance of anemia is proportional to the anemia's rate of development. Symptoms and mortality associated with rapidly developing anemia are more profound than in slowly developing anemia.


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