Haut, Arthur Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.
- General considerations
- Diagnosis and treatment
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A reduction in the total quantity of hemoglobin or of red blood cells (erythrocytes) in the circulation. Because it generally is impractical to measure the total quantity, measures of concentration are used instead. Hemoglobin is contained in red blood cells, which are suspended in plasma, the liquid component of blood. Therefore, concentration is affected not only by quantities of hemoglobin and red blood cells but also by plasma volume. Thus, the apparent anemia found in many women in the third trimester of pregnancy is not really anemia at all: the red cell mass is actually increased, but the plasma volume is expanded even more. In other words, hemodilution is present. Conversely, in dehydration and other circumstances of hemoconcentration, the plasma volume is reduced, thereby tending to mask anemia. See also: Blood; Hemoglobin
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