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Anemia is usually defined as a decrease in the amount of red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin in the blood which leads to a lowered ability of the blood to carry oxygen.

Anemia as a lack of oxygen-carrying capability of the blood causes a series of diseases mainly of the respiratory and cardiovascular system, it is in addition the most serious complication of iron deficiency and thus a significant cause of death. Anemia is the most common disorder of the blood, affecting about a quarter of the people globally and more than half of the pregnant women in developing countries.

The accurate estimation of haemoglobin levels is an essential prerequisite for the diagnosis of anemia and for a variety of other health issues, such as trauma care, selection of blood donors, epidemiological studies, and general primary health care.