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Anemia refers to a deficiency of red (oxygen carrying) cells in the circulation. Anemia may be
Signs and symptoms of anemia include increased fatigue or exercise intolerance, pallor (pale skin), and heart murmurs. Mild to moderate anemia can be difficult to recognise by degree of pallor. Having a fair or pale complexion is not the same as the pallor of anemia, which is chiefly manifest in the normally healthy red tissues of the skin, such as the lips, oral mucous membranes (gums, tongue, and inner cheeks), and the inner surface of the eyelids. The most dramatic anemias are those which are chronic, as in milk baby syndrome, in which the anemia develops over many months and the body is able to compensate fairly well.
Treatment of anemia is usually nutritional (iron supplementation) and rarely transfusion (because of the risks of transfusion, generally done only in cases where nutrition cannot correct the anemia to a safe level fast enough). Anemia caused by disease is often addressed by treatment of the disease; in hereditary spherocytosis, the spleen is removed surgically.