Can anemia cause weight loss?

The short answer is yes, it can, as long as you have one of two different forms of anemia: type 1 and type 2. Although you might see people with type 1 anemia in hospitals, most of the problem appears to be in our diet or medications and this isn’t always easy to spot, especially in those suffering from high blood pressure or those already suffering from liver disease. Type 2 anemia – called hematologic (blood) anemia – often occurs when something goes wrong in the body that causes red blood cells to stop working or not make enough. Although this can happen from a variety of causes, the most common culprit is anemia that results from a tumor or a certain type of blood disease. Anemia due to cancer may also have a similar effect to type 1, although it could be prevented or treated through diet and medication

In the US, type 2 anemia is probably the most common cause of a loss of excess weight in people who are in their late 20s, and for older Americans who are overweight or obese. Other causes of type 2 include:

High blood pressure


Cerebral arterial disease (a buildup of plaque in the brain), including the cause of Alzheimer’s disease

Heart disease

An increased prevalence of diabetes

If you know that you are at risk, or you know that your diet or medications are causing issues, it’s important to consult with a professional who can advise you on what you can do to gain the weight lost.

How does anemia cause weight loss?

Type 1 anemia can lead to weight gain if you don’t get enough red blood cells, but type 2 anemia – also called hematologic – can be caused by a variety of things:


High blood pressure

High triglycerides

High blood glucose

Low iron

Liver disease

Anemia due to cancer

If you’re diagnosed with any of the above disorders, you may have a higher chance of developing type 1 and type 2 anemias if you’re a smoker or have a history of chronic health conditions.

Types of hematologic anemias

You may have two different types of a hematologic anemia – type 1 and type 2. Anemia can happen if blood cells aren’t making enough red blood cells. If you don’t have enough red blood cells, you’ll end up with more white blood cells that aren’t