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Updated April 16, 2009

Definition: Anemia refers to a lack of red blood cells. Anemia is diagnosed by blood tests that look at the number of red blood cells in the blood and the percentage of the blood that is made up of red blood cells. Blood transfusions can be used to treat anemia, and medications or vitamins can be given to encourage the growth of new red blood cells.

Premature babies are often anemic because the body’s mechanisms to create new red blood cells are not yet fully developed, and because of blood loss at birth or during blood sampling. Symptoms of anemia may include tachypnea, tachycardia (rapid heart beat), apnea, and poor weight gain.

Pronunciation: uh-KNEE-me-uh
The baby had to get a blood transfusion because her anemia was causing her heart to beat too fast.
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