Anaemia due to chronic disease is caused by an underlying chronic illness such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or lupus. These illnesses can cause damage to the bone marrow, resulting in an inadequate production of red blood cells.
Diagnosis of anaemia due to chronic disease is based on a combination of blood tests and physical examination. A complete blood count (CBC) is used to measure the number of red blood cells and their hemoglobin content. Other tests such as a ferritin test, to measure iron levels, or a hemoglobin electrophoresis test, to detect abnormal hemoglobins, may be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Other causes of anaemia must be ruled out before a diagnosis of anaemia due to chronic disease can be made. These include nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of vitamin B12 or folate, or excessive bleeding.
Treatment for anaemia due to chronic disease depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, treatment of the underlying condition can improve the anaemia. Iron supplementation, blood transfusions, or erythropoietin injections may be used to increase the number of red blood cells in the circulation.
The prognosis for anaemia due to chronic disease depends on the underlying cause. If the underlying condition can be treated, the anaemia may improve. In some cases, however, the anaemia may be permanent.