In hemolytic anemia, something causes the destruction of red blood cells before they can be replaced. Some types of this disorder are inherited, while others are caused by bacterial or viral infections, blood cancers such as leukemia and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Certain drugs, such as those that treat malaria, can also destroy red blood cells before the body can replace them. The spleen itself may be overactive and can be destroying the blood cells. This can mean an enlarged spleen as well. The artificial valves placed in some heart disease patients can damage the blood cells. Other individuals experience hemolytic anemia when they have a transfusion of the wrong type of blood.
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