The prognosis for anemia will depend on the type. Many forms of anemia are, fortunately, treatable. Some are not. Most are manageable; some can be deadly, especially when combined with other illnesses or complications.
Survival Rates and Mortality
The 10-year survival rate for aplastic anemia with treatment is 68 percent. If the treatment is hematopoietic cell transplantation, the rate is 73 percent. (Hematopoietic stem cells, or blood stem cells, are stem cells that can transform into other kinds of blood cells.)
In general, iron deficiency anemia causes about 1.7 deaths per 100,000 people, which is a fairly low mortality rate. Other forms of this condition are deadlier, though. The mortality rate for sickle cell anemia, for example, is higher than iron deficiency cases. Unfortunately, the mortality rate for sickle cell disease is also higher in children than it is in adults: children can develop a complication of the disease that kills about 1.8 percent.
Can anemia lead to death?
It is possible that anemia can lead to death, but it is not common. Most types of anemia are short-term conditions and treatable. Undiagnosed anemia, though, can cause complications such as an irregular heartbeat, which can lead to eventual heart failure. Some conditions, such as sickle cell disease, can deplete the blood volume quickly, and that can be fatal, too.
How long can you live with anemia?
There is no clear-cut answer to this question as there are many variables to consider. A person who is generally in poor health may not live long with any form of anemia. On the other hand, someone who is otherwise healthy may live indefinitely with the condition.
What is important to remember is that most anemias are treatable with simple diet changes. It may take two or three months for the red blood cell count to level out.
What are the stages of anemia?
Iron-deficiency anemia has stages, each determined by blood tests.
- Stage one is a decrease in bone marrow iron stores.
- Stage two is when erythropoiesis (the process that produces red blood cells) becomes impaired.
- Stage three is healthy red blood cells, but fewer than normal.
- Stage four is when microcytosis and eventually hypochromia develop. Microcytosis means the cells are smaller than normal. Hypochromia indicates they are paler than typical red blood cells.
- Stage five is when the anemia starts to cause tissue damage. Tissue requires oxygen to thrive, and without it, it will break down and die.