Provided by the National Anemia Action Council, Inc., a nonprofit corporation.
Improving the Lives of People with AnemiaTM
*Normal Lab Values: Normal hemoglobin >12 g/dL for women, >13 g/dL for men; normal hematocrit >36% for women, >39% for men.
What is anemia?
Anemia is a below-normal level of hemoglobin* or
hematocrit*. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells
that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Anemia can
be a temporary condition, a consequence of other health
conditions, or it can be a chronic problem. People with mild
anemia may not have any symptoms or may have only mild
symptoms. People with severe anemia may have problems
carrying out routine activities and can feel tired or experience
shortness of breath with activity.1
How common is anemia in people with rheumatoid arthritis?
Aside from joint symptoms, anemia is the most common
problem for people with rheumatoid arthritis.2,3 Studies
show as many as 60% of people with rheumatoid arthritis are
What causes anemia in people with rheumatoid arthritis?
There can be many reasons a person with rheumatoid arthritis
experiences anemia. One cause is inflammation associated
with rheumatoid arthritis. Inflamed tissues secrete small
proteins that have effects on iron metabolism, bone marrow,
and erythropoietin production by the kidneys (a hormone
that controls production of red blood cells). Hemoglobin
is carried by red cells, but when there are not enough red
cells, your body’s organs do not get enough oxygen. In
addition, many people with rheumatoid arthritis do not have
enough iron available to get into red blood cells. This iron
deficiency is usually caused by menstrual bleeding, digestive
tract bleeding or a problem getting the iron from within
the bone marrow into the red blood cells. Drugs used to
treat rheumatoid arthritis (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs, prednisone and other drugs) are some of the causes of
bleeding from the digest