is a generic term for any type of anemia
in which the red blood cells
(erythrocytes) are paler than normal. (Hypo
- refers to less
, and chromic
.) A normal red blood cell will have an area of pallor in the center of it; in hypochromic cells, this area of central pallor is increased. This decrease in redness is due to a disproportionate reduction of red cell hemoglobin
(the pigment that imparts the red color) in proportion to the volume of the cell. In many cases, the red blood cells will also be small (microcytic), leading to substantial overlap with the category of microcytic anemia
Hypochromic anemia may be caused by vitamin B6 deficiency from a low iron intake, diminished iron absorption, or excessive iron loss. It can also be caused by infections or other diseases, therapeutic drugs, and lead poisoning. One acquired form of anemia is also known as Faber's syndrome. It may also occur from severe stomach or intestinal bleeding caused by ulcers or medications such as aspirin.
It can also occur in certain forms of congenital developmental disorders, like Benjamin syndrome. It is also caused by thalassemia.