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What Is Anemia?

Anemia is a condition in which the body produces a lower than normal number of red blood cells. These cells are important because they contain hemoglobin, a substance that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. When you are anemic, because you have lower levels of hemoglobin, less oxygen is able to reach your muscles and organs.

Anemia is an important concern in this setting because a patient with anemia who undergoes surgery, which may involve a high loss of blood (like hip- or knee-replacement surgery), may have a greater chance of needing a blood transfusion. Depending on how low your hemoglobin levels are and how this is impacting you, your doctor may decide to delay your surgery until your hemoglobin levels can be increased.

Talk to your doctor to determine if you could be anemic. Only your doctor can determine if you have anemia and decide the course of treatment that is right for you.