Distinguishing True Anemia from Dilutional Anemia
Patients with anemia report feelings of weakness, fatigue, or exercise intolerance but also other symptoms may manifest. Anemia is diagnosed based on a lowering of hemoglobin concentration below 130 g/l in males and 120 g/l in females. The measurement of hemoglobin concentration is an easy test to perform, but is limited in that the pathology for anemia remains unknown.
Accordingly, anemia may be the result of impaired production of red blood cells or increased destruction of red blood cells. In these cases the condition would be compliant with the definition of anemia (reduced red blood cell volume). Anemia may also be the result of an enhanced plasma volume while red blood cell volume is normal.
Anemia caused by enhanced plasma volume is also referred to as dilutional anemia (also pseudo anemia or hemodilitional anemia) since the total number of red blood cells is unaffected. While both conditions are termed anemia, they may require entirely different medical treatment.