An autoimmune hemolytic anemia is a medical disorder wherein antibodies are formed inside the red blood cells of the individual and causes them to burst and destroy. This leads to a reduction in the number of red blood cells in the body and reduces the circulation of blood. It is a rare medical condition which affects about one to three persons out of a 100,000 in a particular year. It has been noted that most cases are seen in patients who are above the age of 40 and it affects more women than men.

The exact cause of AIHA is not yet known. However, there are two conditions-warm hemolysis and cold AIHA. In warm hemolysis, the red blood cells become coated with IgG molecules and in cold AIHA, IgM molecules help to fix the complement on the surface of RBCs. Treatment of both the conditions vary and the doctor can decide the course of action based on the signs and symptoms present.

Signs and Symptoms

Majority patients suffer from muscle weakness, fatigue, and headaches, shortness of breath and paleness and dizziness. About 50% of the patients suffer from immunodeficiency and frequent infections. Some patients also suffer from an abnormal urinary color, abdominal pain, edema, jaundice, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias. In very rare cases, an abdominal pain is noticed while eating cold food; this is due to ischemia related to the red cells in the stomach.

Diagnosis

If you notice a drop in the red blood count, it is a sign of clinical suspicion of the disease. A definitive diagnosis will require laboratory tests which show the evidence of the presence of autoimmune component and hemolysis. There are a number of clinical tests which are carried out by the doctors in order to determine the existence of the condition. A thorough blood count test in addition to other clinical tests can help establish the fact of the existence of this condition. The autoimmune component of AIHA demonstrates the presence of either IgG molecules or the complement on the surface of red blood cells. This can be learned by the direct antiglobulin test which can show false negative and false positive results. A positive DAT could be seen in patients who had an HIV infection or a liver disease. If the test is positive, the further specification can be obtained with additional tests in order to determine whether RBC is coated with IgG, IgA, IgM, C3C, and C3d.

To gain more information about the medical condition, it is ideal to speak to a doctor or to refer health niche websites that will give you insights into hemolytic anemia. The condition can only be confirmed by clinical tests and if you notice a drop in your blood count, you need to consult a doctor immediately. There is no exact cause which leads to this disease; however, there are multiple treatments for the same. Depending on the intensity of the medical condition, the doctor can choose a treatment that is ideal for the patient.