Hemolytic anemia – autoimmune hemolytic anemia is an autoimmune disorder which causes the premature destruction of red blood cells. A normal red blood cell has a lifespan of approximately 120 days before the spleen removes it from circulation. Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow and released into circulation. In persons with autoimmune hemolytic anemia, the red blood cells are destroyed prematurely; and bone marrow production of new cells cannot make up for their loss. The severity of this disorder is determined by the length of time the red blood cell survives and by the capability of the bone marrow to continue red blood cell production.
Autoimmune hemolytic anemia usually occurs in conjunction with some other medical condition, very often another autoimmune disease. It may sometimes occur alone and without a triggering factor. It affects twice as many women as men, specifically women in the childbearing years. Cold antibody hemolytic anemia most commonly affects the elderly and warm antibody hemolytic anemia can affect anyone at any age.