Anemia is a lower level of healthy red blood cells (RBCs) than is normal. RBCs pick up oxygen from the lungs and carry it to cells all over the body. The body cannot work as it should when it does not have enough healthy RBCs.
RBCs are made in the bone marrow. Iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 are all needed to make healthy RBCs. Low levels of iron, folic acid, and vitamin B in the diet can lead to anemia.
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Anemia. American Society of Hematology website. Available at:
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Accessed February 13, 2020.
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Vieth JT, Lane DR. Anemia. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2017 Dec;31(6):1045-1060.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 10/30/2020