What is borderline anemia?

When a blood test results in red blood cell levels of fewer than 13.5 g/dL for males or 12.0 g/dL for women, doctors diagnose anaemia. Borderline anaemia is defined as having slightly higher red blood cell counts along with symptoms of anaemia.

A disorder known as anaemia results from the body not producing enough red blood cells. Anaemia is often categorised as mild, moderate, or severe. You could still have symptoms even if your red blood cell count is somewhat higher than that of mild anaemia. We refer to this as borderline anaemia.

What is borderline anemia?

Anaemia is a disorder that develops when the red blood cells in your body are either insufficient or not functioning properly. When a blood test results in red blood cell counts of less than 13.5 grammes per deciliter (g/dL) for males or less than 12.0 g/dL for women, clinicians typically diagnose anaemia. Nonetheless, anaemia symptoms can occasionally occur in those whose levels are slightly beyond the diagnostic cut-off point. This anaemia is on the edge.

What causes borderline anemia?

Anaemia on the border is fairly common. People of all ages, genders, nationalities, and health statuses may be impacted. The following are a few potential causes of borderline anaemia:
  • Low iron: The most prevalent kind of anaemia is iron deficiency anaemia.
  • Vitamin deficiency: Certain vitamins, such as vitamin B12, are necessary for your body to produce red blood cells.
  • Blood loss: Borderline anaemia can occasionally be brought on by blood loss from an injury, recent surgery, or significant monthly flow.
  • Pregnancy: The body makes more blood during pregnancy to sustain the growing foetus. Anaemia on the borderline may result from this increased blood volume's ability to lower the percentage of red blood cells.
  • Chronic conditions: Numerous illnesses can alter how your body makes red blood cells, including viral illnesses like hepatitis and illnesses that impact your organs like liver and kidney disease.
  • Medications: The production of blood cells by your body may be impacted by some drugs. Anaemia on the border may result from this.

What are the symptoms of borderline anemia?

It's possible for someone with borderline anaemia to show no symptoms. The symptoms are usually modest when they occur. Your symptoms may become more apparent while you're under stress or when you're working out.

Typical signs and symptoms include:
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • lightheadedness
  • cold hands and feet
  • shortness of breath
  • irregular or racing heartbeat

How is borderline anemia diagnosed?

A blood draw is the most accurate method of diagnosing borderline anaemia. Your blood's red, white, and platelet counts can all be determined via a test known as a complete blood count (CBC). It can reveal if your red blood cell count is within normal limits, whether you have diagnosable anaemia, or whether your anaemia is borderline.

What’s the treatment for borderline anemia?

For borderline anaemia, you might not require medication. Your doctor may simply want to keep an eye on your red blood cell count if you are symptom-free. At your subsequent visit, they can recommend getting a second CBC to be sure your borderline anaemia hasn't gotten worse.

Treatment options if you exhibit symptoms or if your doctor worries that your borderline anaemia is getting worse include:
  • Changes to your diet: Increasing the quantity of iron, B12, or other nutrients in your diet could be one way to do this. You can learn more about the meals that will help treat your borderline anaemia from your doctor.
  • Switching medication: Your doctor may decide to adjust the dosage or kind of medication you take because certain medications might induce borderline anaemia.
  • Therapy for the underlying illness you have: Numerous factors can lead to borderline anaemia. Borderline anaemia can also be treated by taking care of the underlying illness.
You may require more treatments if your anaemia worsens. This could apply to transfusions or supplements.

What are the risks of having borderline anemia?

Serious anaemia can develop from borderline anaemia. Low oxygen levels can occur throughout the body as a result of severe anaemia. Your organs don't receive the oxygen they require to function when this occurs. Heart failure may result from it.

What’s the outlook for people with borderline anemia?

Most of the time, borderline anaemia has no negative effects on long-term health. It can usually be swiftly remedied. However if left untreated, borderline anaemia can occasionally develop into more severe types of the disease. These may result in more severe symptoms and be more challenging to cure.


Is slight anemia serious?

In general, mild anaemia is safe and doesn't usually result in long-term health issues. But it can also cause symptoms like weakness and exhaustion, which can lower your quality of life. If the underlying reason is ignored or the mild anaemia is not treated, it may occasionally worsen.

Can mild anemia be cured?

In certain cases of mild to moderate anaemia, your physician might prescribe the following supplements: Your body's iron levels can rise if you take iron supplements. Iron-deficiency anaemia may benefit from this treatment.

Can I live a normal life with anemia?

Most patients go on to lead regular, healthy lives after receiving therapy. On the other hand, anaemia may have long-term or even fatal consequences. These are more prevalent in cases where the illness is severe, long-lasting, or untreated.


When your body produces insufficient red blood cells or when your red blood cells aren't functioning properly, it can lead to anaemia. Even when a person's red blood cell count is slightly above the threshold for anaemia, symptoms can still occur. This is regarded as borderline anaemia, and it may occasionally develop into a more severe form of the disease.

Treatment options vary and may involve food modifications, drug substitutions, or treating underlying medical conditions.

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