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High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure and anemia

08/21/2006

Question:

I have both high blood pressure and anemia of chronic disease. My hemaglobin is low (last test 10.2) If hemaglobin carries oxgyen to my body therefore I have to try and catch my breath all the time. Could this cause my blood pressure to increase? In other words can anemia cause high blood pressure?

Answer:

In general, no.  In people with a healthy heart, anemia has to be severe (hemoglobin below 9 gm/L) before causing any changes in heart function or blood pressure.

In severe anemia, heart rate and cardiac output increase.  This can cause an increase in blood pressure, but it is a small effect.

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Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati