Chronic illnesses such as cancer, connective tissue disease, and chronic infection are associated with anemia. The anemia has the following characteristics:
• Normochromic, normocytic, occasionally microcytic
• Usually mild, characterized by decreased plasma iron and normal or increased reticuloendothelial iron
• Impaired flow of iron from reticuloendothelial cells to the bone marrow
• Decreased sideroblasts in the bone marrow.
Treatment involves treating the underlying illness. Iron is of little value because the iron is cleared by the reticuloendothelial system.
Was this article helpful?