Anemia is one of the common blood disorders that experts have associated with COVID-19. However, no research evidence yet demonstrates a direct causal relationship between both.
Having COVID-19 triggers an inflammatory response that may lead to serious consequences. Some research demonstrates the possible mechanisms for anemia in patients with COVID-19.
This article discusses anemia in people with COVID-19 and highlights studies that reveal the association between the two.
All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub for the most recent information on COVID-19.
It is possible that COVID-19 can cause anemia in some people. A few studies found an association between the two conditions in hospitalized patients.
Medical experts associate autoimmune-mediated destruction of red cell precursors in the bone marrow as one of the possible causes of aplastic anemia and pure red cell aplasia in those with COVID-19. Red cell precursors refer to an earlier stage of the red blood cells.
There is no clear evidence indicating anemia is a risk factor for COVID-19. However, some
The effect of COVID-19 on a person with anemia depends on many factors, including:
- the severity of the anemia
- immune response
- other factors, such as a person’s overall health status
COVID-19 typically triggers an inflammatory response that can further reduce hemoglobin levels in a person with anemia.
When this level drops, the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity reduces. It also affects tissue oxygenation, which refers to the process of oxygen molecules entering the body’s tissues. The extent of anemia can affect tissue oxygenation. Individuals with severe anemia will likely experience significantly lower tissue oxygenation than those with mild and moderate anemia. Doctors consider it severe anemia when the body’s hemoglobin levels are between
Therefore, those with anemia and COVID-19 are more likely to experience severe respiratory disease than nonanemic individuals.
What research says
There are different
For mild COVID-19 and mild anemia, the following measures can be helpful:
- using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease the inflammation and relieve pain
- adequate bed rest
- adequate fluid intake
Also, some people with mild or moderate anemia and iron deficiency may benefit from taking iron-containing multivitamin supplements.
Blood transfusion is a treatment option for individuals with severe anemia and COVID-19. Typically, those with severe disease are likely to experience a significant drop in the blood oxygen saturation levels, which may be life threatening.
The doctor may also prescribe an antiviral medication, especially for those with severe COVID-19. Reducing the viral load can help decrease the degree of anemia due to inflammation.
Individuals with severe COVID-19 and anemia may require hospital care for close monitoring and treatment.
The recovery of people who have anemia with COVID-19 varies, and the following factors can play a role:
- immunity level
- having other chronic medical disorders
Within the recovery period, there is a risk of getting COVID-19 again, even in people with no further clinical signs of the disease. Recurrent COVID-19 could also affect the timeline for recovery.
Anemia is a demonstrated risk factor that may worsen the severity and outcomes of COVID-19.
People with anemia and COVID-19 are at risk of respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia, and organ dysfunction, which can affect survival rates. According to a
That said, the outlook of anemia in those with COVID-19 will also differ according to the severity of both conditions.
A person with anemia is vulnerable to severe COVID-19. A few reasons may be responsible, including having low hemoglobin levels. Several studies also suggest anemia can occur when someone has COVID-19, and this is likely due to inflammation, multivitamin deficiency, and autoimmune response.
Treating anemia in COVID-19 depends on the severity of the anemia and COVID-19. Medications, such as iron multivitamins and NSAIDs, may help in mild cases, but blood transfusion could be necessary for more severe cases.
Recovery from anemia after COVID-19 varies due to the potential risk of reinfection with SARS-CoV-2. The outlook of people with both conditions depends on the person’s age, health status, and other factors.