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Blood film in iron deficiency anemia. (WC)

Anemia is an abnormally low hemoglobin.

There is a long list of causes for anemia. Usually, anemia is grouped by RBC cell size, mean corpuscular volume (MCV).


Macrocytic anemia (MCV>100 fl)
Normocytic anemia (MCV 80–100 fl)
Microcytic anemia (MCV<80 fl)

Microcytic anemia

Mnemonic TAILS:[1]

  • Thalassemia.
  • Anemia of chronic diesease.
  • Iron deficiency anemia.
  • Lead toxicity.
  • Sideroblastic anemia.

Macrocytic anemia

Mnemonic Few Big RBCs May Lead To Palor:

Normocytic anemia

One DDx of normocytic anemia:[2]

  • Acute blood loss.
  • Hypersplenism.
  • Hemolytic disorders.

A cute mnemonic ABBRA:

  • Anemia of chronic disease.
  • Bone marrow infiltration.
  • Bone marrow failure.
  • Renal failure.
  • Acute hemorrhage.

Specific types of anemia

Pernicious anemia

Sickle cell anemia


  1. URL: Accessed on: 12 May 2011.
  2. Brill, JR.; Baumgardner, DJ. (Nov 2000). "Normocytic anemia.". Am Fam Physician 62 (10): 2255-64. PMID 11126852.