There are multiple types of anemia, so the question necessarily becomes: “are they all hereditary?” The basic definition of anemia is an abnormality in the formation of, or the premature death of red blood cells. For example, sickle-cell disease is when red cells carry abnormal hemoglobin (an oxygen-carrying protein) resulting in anemia when large numbers of them die. Pernicious anemia is the result of insufficient amounts of vitamin B12 being absorbed by the intestines. Sickle-cell disease is genetic and pernicious anemia is not (but may be a result of a different genetic condition). If an anemia has a genetic component it does not mean that the disorder will manifest in the individual in every case-only that the abnormality may lead to an anemia if the gene that controls its expression allows it. Some other types of hereditary anemia are the thalassemias; Fanconi’s anemia, and congenital dyserythropoietic anemia. Anemia is a general term describing a common complex of symptoms. There are other types of anemia not mentioned here, some that are hereditary and some that are not, but any anemia can be serious and deserves attention regardless of whether a person is born with it or acquires it by other means.
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