Aplastic Anemia vs Hemolytic Anemia: Difference and Comparison

Red blood cells in the blood contain a protein that is rich in iron. It is known as hemoglobin.

It removes carbon dioxide from the cells and carries oxygen from the lungs. When the red blood cells start decreasing in a person, it means he has anemia.

The two types of anemia are Aplastic anemia and Hemolytic anemia. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Aplastic Anemia is a rare disorder where the bone marrow does not produce enough new blood cells. At the same time, Hemolytic Anemia is a disorder where red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be produced.
  2. Aplastic Anemia can be caused by radiation, chemicals, or viral infections, while genetic disorders or autoimmune diseases can cause Hemolytic Anemia.
  3. Treatment for Aplastic Anemia may involve blood transfusions, medications, or bone marrow transplants. In contrast, treatment for Hemolytic Anemia may involve treating the underlying cause or medications to reduce red blood cell destruction.

Aplastic Anemia vs Hemolytic Anemia 

Aplastic anemia is a rare acquired or genetical condition in which the human body is unable to generate enough new blood cells and platelets due to misfunctioning of bone marrow. Hemolytic anemia is a condition where the body’s immune system works against it   destroys red blood cells, leading to a shortage of red blood cells.

Aplastic Anemia vs Hemolytic Anemia

Aplastic anemia occurs when they are exposed to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Usually, people take such therapies when they have cancer.

The person can have infections, gum and nasal bleeding, and bruising. This type of anemia can occur at any age and worsen over time. 

Hemolytic anemia is a type of disorder in which the red blood cells start destroying early. Their life span is 120 days. But in this condition, they break down earlier than this.

This type of anemia occurs in the red cell membrane. The immune system attacks the red blood cells, and this is the auto-immune cause. 

Comparison Table

Parameters Of ComparisonAplastic AnemiaHemolytic Anemia
Definition It is a disorder in which the production of blood cells reduces, and there is damage to bone marrow. It is a disorder in which the red blood cells destroy excessively.
Types of cells All the blood cells.Only red blood cells.
SymptomsFatigue, bruising, and gum bleeding.Jaundice, pale skin, and expansion of the spleen.
CausesToxic chemicals, viral infections, and chemotherapy.Inheritance and other problems.
TreatmentTransplant of bone marrow and medicines. Surgery and change in lifestyle.

What is Aplastic Anemia?

In this type of disorder, the bone marrow stops producing new blood cells. Not just one, but all three- red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

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It can happen slowly or quickly, and the condition can worsen after some time. It is a severe condition because it threatens that person’s life. 

The symptoms of aplastic anemia are- little or no breath, fatigue, bruising, headache, high fever, rashes on the skin, and bleeding gums. 

What are the causes? 

The factors that can damage the bone marrow are- 

  1. When a person has cancer, the doctors recommend chemotherapy or radiotherapy. These therapies may kill cancer cells, but it is also possible that they can damage the healthy cells present in the body. Hence, the person can get the disorder. 
  2. Certain drugs treat problems like arthritis, but you can also get aplastic anemia due to them. 
  3. Exposure to some toxic chemicals that are there in insecticides and pesticides can cause it.
  4. Some viral infections damage and affect the bone marrow. The viruses are HIV, Epstein-Barr, etc. 
  5. During pregnancy, the lady’s immune system can affect the bone marrow. 

People who are in their early 20s and the elderly are most likely to get aplastic anemia. 

What is Hemolytic Anemia?

In this type of disorder, the red blood cells start destroying earlier than their lifespan. The destruction is known as hemolysis. The mission of red blood cells is to carry oxygen in every part of the body.

But in this condition, the cells break down faster. It occurs in the enzymes that maintain the red blood cells. 

In intrinsic hemolytic anemia, the red blood cells do not function properly. People can face this disorder if they inherit thalassemia or sickle cell anemia.

It can also occur if they inherit a metabolic abnormality. 

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In extrinsic hemolytic anemia, the spleen traps healthy red blood cells and destroys them. An auto-immune reaction is also a cause for this.

It can occur from tumors, leukemia, lymphoma, and side effects of medicines. 

The symptoms of this condition can include- a light head, fever, pale skin, weakness in the body, dark color of urine, enlargement of the liver, expansion of the spleen, and jaundice. 

What are the causes?

A person can face this condition- either due to inheritance or they acquire it. If your parents have this condition, they may also pass on the genes to you.

You can have this disorder due to cancer in the blood, tumors, and a reaction to a blood transfusion. 

Main Differences Between Aplastic Anemia and Hemolytic Anemia

  • Aplastic anemia is a disorder in which the production of blood cells stops and bone marrow is damaged. On the other hand, hemolytic anemia is a disorder in which the red blood cells break down at a high rate. 
  • In aplastic anemia, all the blood cells are there. But in hemolytic anemia, only red blood cells are there. 
  • Fatigue, bruising, and gum bleeding are symptoms of aplastic anemia. While on the other hand, expansion of the spleen, jaundice, and pale skin are symptoms of hemolytic anemia. 
  • Causes of aplastic anemia include chemotherapy, toxic chemicals, and viral infections. On the other hand, the causes of hemolytic anemia are-, inheritance or a person’s acquires it.
  • Diagnosing aplastic anemia includes a complete blood count test and bone marrow biopsy. To diagnose hemolytic anemia, we have a test- serum lactate dehydrogenase. 
Difference Between Aplastic Anemia and Hemolytic Anemia
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3410534/
  2. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0601/p2599

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Aplastic Anemia vs Hemolytic Anemia: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I found the explanation on the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic hemolytic anemia very interesting. It’s great to see a comprehensive breakdown.

  2. I’m concerned after reading this. The causes and symptoms of aplastic anemia are quite worrisome. I had no idea it could be related to cancer treatments.

  3. The potential causes and symptoms are alarming, especially concerning aplastic anemia. I had no idea about these risks before reading this article.

  4. Thank you for the comparison table. It’s always helpful to have a visual reference for distinguishing between these conditions.

  5. Another informative article! I appreciate the clear explanation and the way it highlights the differences between the two types of anemia.


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