Chris D. Meletis, N.D.
Anemia is not a disease per se but rather a symptom that arises from either a reduction in the number of red blood cells (RBCs) or the quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. Even the slightest sign of anemia represents an imbalance in the body that is worthy of clinical investigation. Only an in depth review and methodical elimination of possible etiologies allows for an accurate and reliable diagnosis that measures the severity of the anemia. Healthy RBCs have an average survival period of 120 days, thus, during each day, roughly 1 percent of a patient’s RBCs must be replaced. However, during the rare occasion of complete cessation of RBC production, a 10 percent decrease in RBC count might be noted per week. If RBC counts drop more rapidly than 10 percent per week then destructive processes, such as hemolysis, must be considered. The causes of anemia can be broken down into three basic categories: Blood loss, decreased production of RBCs, or increased destruction of RBCs.