There are many types of hemolytic anemia that do not have genetic causes, but most cases of intrinsic hemolytic anemia and some types of extrinsic hemolytic anemia are caused by genes inherited from one's parents, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. Intrinsic hemolytic anemia is caused by defects in the blood cells themselves, while extrinsic hemolytic anemia destroys otherwise healthy blood cells.
Hemolytic anemia is a condition in which the body has insufficient red blood cells because many of the blood cells are destroyed before they can be replaced, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. Two common types of hemolytic anemia in which red blood cells die early because of inherent defects are sickle cell anemia and thalassemia. The body can also simply develop antibodies to its own red blood cells, which is a more specific autoimmune disorder. One example of genetic extrinsic hemolytic anemia is Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. Other autoimmune disorders that can cause hemolytic anemia are lupus, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Hemolytic anemia can also be caused by external agents such as medications, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine. Some medications that can cause this condition are acetaminophen, penicillin and antimalaria medications. Infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis or streptococcus can cause hemolytic anemia, as can cancers such as lymphoma or leukemia.