Question: Is anemia commonly associated with chronic arthritis?
Answer: Anemia (low red blood count) is commonly noted in patients with chronic arthritis. The two most common reasons for this are gastrointestinal blood loss from arthritis medications, and bone marrow changes in patients with inflammatory arthritis, which prevent release of iron for incorporation into red blood cells. The anemia cannot be corrected until either the offending medication is discontinued, or the inflammatory changes associated with the arthritis are controlled with appropriate treatment. (Answer provided by the late Dr. Raymond Federman, aka Dr. Bones, who passed away on September 2, 2003. The care of his patients even in retirement was always his joy.)