Hemolytic anemia is a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed prematurely, resulting in an abnormally low number of these critical cells. This condition can lead to multiple organ failure, particularly of the kidneys, pancreas, and heart. Red blood cells move oxygen throughout the body so cells can grow, reproduce, and repair themselves.
This condition can occur when a person eats food contaminated with E. coli O157 bacteria, which then create deadly toxins that poison the body. The diseases caused by these toxins are thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
Below is more information about the causes:
- TTP occurs when too many platelets are destroyed. Tiny thrombi (blood clots) form in blood vessels throughout the body, but particularly in the central nervous system (CNS) and kidneys. Because the formation of the thrombi uses an abnormally high number of platelets, the number of platelets in the bloodstream decreases to dangerously low levels.
- HUS involves the damage and destruction of red blood cells and is one of the leading causes of renal failure in children in the United States. This condition also causes thrombi to form, primarily in the kidneys.
Our lawyers have represented many people who developed hemolytic anemia in outbreaks of E. coli infections linked to tainted food, including beef, raw milk, cheese, lettuce and spinach, to name a few. Even frozen foods can harbor this pathogen.
People with anemia get very tired. They may also have other symptoms, including shortness of breath, dizziness, headache, cold hands and feet, pale skin, and chest pain, which is a sign that the heart is having to work too hard to try keep the body oxygenated.
A lack of red blood cells also means that your heart has to work harder to move oxygen-rich blood through your body. The result can be an irregular heartbeat, a murmur, enlargement, or organ failure.
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