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A hemolytic anemia is one in which red cells are destroyed (hemolysis, literally dissolving of the blood) at an increased rate compared to the normal rate of destruction and replacement of old, worn out red cells. This condition may be caused by structually abnormal red cells, by abnormal antibodies against the red cells that trigger destruction, by physical factors such as diseased blood vessels that cause physical damage to the red cells as they pass through them, or by toxins that attack the red cells, such as certain snake venoms.
There are many conditions which result in a hemolytic anemia: