Acute Blood Loss Anemia: Symptoms, Causes, and Criteria

Person suffering from acute blood loss anemia during surgery

In general, anemia is a decrease in red blood cell mass and measured by hemoglobin levels that are below normal.

Any type of blood loss can result in anemia, whether the loss of blood is a symptom of a chronic condition or an acute injury.

With acute blood loss anemia, it is necessary for a person to lose enough blood to fall below normal hemoglobin levels or have those levels fall even further below where they already were before the injury.

This article will define and describe acute blood loss anemia, including its symptoms, causes, and how to differentiate it from other forms of anemia.

How Common Is Anemia Due to Blood Loss?

Anemia due to blood loss is fairly common. However, anemia due to acute blood loss is significantly less common. Much more often, anemia due to blood loss is caused from heavy menstrual bleeding, the overuse of aspirin, ulcers, and cancer. However, these are more chronic blood loss conditions that deplete the body’s stores of iron over time. Acute blood loss anemia and chronic blood loss are very different clinical conditions that require very different treatments and medical strategies.

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Causes of Acute Blood Loss Anemia

Acute blood loss anemia is often caused by a large hemorrhage. This involves a trauma to a large blood vessel. Acute blood loss anemia can also be caused by an eroding blood vessel that is caused by a stomach ulcer or a duodenal. It is also possible for rapid blood loss to occur during surgery, after an injury, or during childbirth. Individuals who take blood thinner medications to prevent blood clots or other issues may experience excess bleeding and be more prone to developing this type of anemia. The condition can even be fatal if one-third of blood volume is lost suddenly.

Symptoms of Blood Loss Anemia

The typical symptoms of blood loss anemia due to a hemorrhage include rapid pulse, dizziness, sweating, and faintness. Blood vessels are constricted in this situation, which may cause the red blood count and hemoglobin levels to temporarily be high. But these levels will usually drop within a couple hours or less, once the body switches into emergency mode and starts replacing the missing blood with tissue fluid.

Understanding Acute Blood Loss Anemia Criteria

It’s important for both anemia patients and medical professionals to understand the standard acute blood loss criteria in order to distinguish this type of anemia from other types. Acute blood loss anemia is caused by a sudden loss of blood, typically in an emergency situation. Meanwhile, chronic blood loss anemia is symptom of an ongoing medical problem that can be closely monitored and treated.

Losing a large amount of blood very suddenly puts patients at risk of heart attack and stroke. With acute blood loss, the first step is to stop the bleeding as quickly and effectively as possible. From there, possible treatment options for this condition include plasma infusions, saline solutions, treatment for shock, and iron supplements like Fergon.

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