What Is Anemia?

Anemia is caused by a lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein found in red blood cells. Anemia is most often due to a deficiency in iron, a key component of hemoglobin. Anemia can be triggered by blood loss, a folic acid or vitamin B12 deficiency, sickle cell disease, and a genetic disorder called thalassemia, among other causes.

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