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Acute Posthemorrhagic Anemia

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 3, 2023.

What is acute posthemorrhagic anemia?

Acute posthemorrhagic anemia is a condition that develops when you lose a large amount of blood quickly. Anemia is a low number of red blood cells or a low amount of hemoglobin in your red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a protein that helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body.

What increases my risk for acute posthemorrhagic anemia?

  • Trauma or surgery that causes massive blood loss
  • Bleeding in your stomach, such as from an ulcer
  • A bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia
  • A family history of blood disease or anemia
  • Use of blood thinning medicines or antiplatelet medicines
  • A woman's monthly period that is very heavy

What are the signs and symptoms of acute posthemorrhagic anemia?

You may have any of the following, depending on how much blood you lost:

  • Feeling weak, tired, dizzy, or lightheaded
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Pale or cold, clammy skin
  • Shortness of breath, or fast, shallow breaths
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Urinating little or not at all
  • Trouble concentrating, or confusion
  • Headache or seizures
  • Chest pain or sweating

How is acute posthemorrhagic anemia diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. You may also need any of the following:

  • Blood tests are used to check the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Platelets are the sticky part of your blood that helps form clots to stop bleeding. The tests may also be used to find how well your blood can form clots.
  • A urine or bowel movement sample may be tested for blood.
  • An endoscopy is a procedure used to check for bleeding.

How is acute posthemorrhagic anemia treated?

Your healthcare provider may have you stop any medicines that are causing bleeding. Treatment depends on the amount of blood you lost, the cause of the bleeding, and your symptoms:

  • A blood transfusion may be needed if your body cannot replace the blood you have lost.
  • Surgery may be needed to stop the bleeding, or to fix an injury.
  • Fluids may be given through an IV to help increase your blood pressure.
  • Iron supplements may be given if your iron level is too low.
  • Extra oxygen may be needed if your oxygen level is too low.

What can I do to manage acute posthemorrhagic anemia?

  • Rest as needed. Anemia may make you more tired than usual. Rest will help you heal and can help prevent more bleeding.
  • Eat healthy foods rich in iron together with foods rich in vitamin C. Nuts, meat, dark leafy green vegetables, and beans are high in iron and protein. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges and other citrus fruits. Ask your healthcare provider for a list of other foods that are high in iron or vitamin C. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
    Sources of Iron
    Sources of Vitamin C
  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink and which liquids are best for you. For most people, good liquids are water, juice, and milk.

Call 911 or have someone call 911 for any of the following:

  • You lose consciousness or cannot be woken.
  • You have severe chest pain.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have dark or bloody bowel movements.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your symptoms are worse, even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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