Difference Between Aplastic Anemia and Hemolytic Anemia

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. 

Aplastic Anemia vs Hemolytic Anemia 

The main difference between Aplastic anemia and Hemolytic anemia is that aplastic anemia is a situation in which there is damage in the bone marrow, and it no longer produces blood cells. On the other hand, hemolytic anemia is a situation when the red blood cells break down excessively. Aplastic anemia includes every blood cell, while hemolytic anemia includes red blood cells only. 

Aplastic Anemia vs Hemolytic Anemia

Aplastic anemia occurs in a person when they have exposure 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 becomes worse over a while. 

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 Between Aplastic Anemia and Hemolytic Anemia

Parameters Of Comparison Aplastic Anemia Hemolytic Anemia
Definition It is a disorder in which the production of blood cells reduces and there is a damage in bone marrow. It is a disorder in which the red blood cells destroys 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 the three, that is- red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

It can happen slowly or fast, and the condition can become worse after some time. It is a severe condition because there is a threat to 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 the 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 that damage and affect the bone marrow. The viruses are HIV, Epstein-Barr, etc. 
  5. During pregnancy, the immune system of the lady 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 life span. 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. 

In extrinsic hemolytic anemia, the spleen traps the 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- 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 pass on the genes to you as well.

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 the bone marrow damages. 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 is 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 can include- chemotherapy, toxic chemicals, and viral infections. On the other hand, the causes of hemolytic anemia are-, inheritance or a person acquires it.
  • Tests to diagnose aplastic anemia are- 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


Our body must function properly, as we have to do ample amounts of work every day. If you are having any problem with your health, you must not ignore it.

Treatment with the right medicines is necessary, otherwise, the problem can become worse than ever. 

Treatment for aplastic anemia depends on the seriousness of your condition and your age. Medicines, blood transfusions, and transplants of bone marrow are some of the options that you have.

If the blood cell count is low, then the doctors recommend you to hospitalize. 

Treatment for hemolytic anemia depends on its cause. Inheritance is one cause, so if you have it due to your parents, then it is a condition that will stay with you lifelong.

But if the cause is different, then medicines, surgery, and change in lifestyle can help.  


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3410534/

2. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0601/p2599

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