Anemia is a medical condition that develops when your blood lacks sufficient healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that helps red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Regarded as one of the most common blood disorders, the condition can make you feel tired and weak. You may also experience shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, or an irregular heartbeat. There are different types of anemia, (each with its own cause) which can be temporary or long term, and can range from mild to severe. If left untreated, anemia can cause serious health concerns such as – pregnancy complications, severe fatigue, heart problems and in some severe cases even death. Treatment for this condition ranges from taking medication supplements to undergoing medical procedures. Documenting different types of anemia for claim submission and reimbursement requires a better understanding of the medical billing and coding guidelines. Choosing the services of a reliable and established medical billing and coding company can help physicians’ better deal with claim submission tasks.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, anemia affects about 3 million people in the United States. Women, young children, and people with chronic diseases are at increased risk of suffering anemia. There are three main reasons why people become anemic which are – a reduction in the body’s ability to produce new red blood cells/hemoglobin, an increase in blood loss (usually due to bleeding) or an illness that leads to increased destruction of red blood cells.

Symptoms and Treatment Options

In some cases, individuals with anemia do not experience any specific symptoms. Generally, the signs and symptoms vary and depend on the type and cause of your anemia. One of the most common symptoms of all types of anemia is a feeling of fatigue, weakness and a lack of energy. Other related symptoms include –

  • Pale or yellowish skin
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Chest pain
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Headache
  • Pounding or “whooshing” in your ears
  • Hair loss
  • Malaise (general sense of feeling unwell)

There are several factors that place a person at increased risk of anemia and these include – diet lacking in certain vitamins, intestinal disorders, chronic conditions and other factors like – infections, blood diseases, alcoholism, exposure to toxic chemicals and the use of certain medications.

Initial diagnosis of anemia will begin with a detailed physical examination and medical and family history evaluation. Physicians recommend performing complete blood count (CBC) test- which measures a number of blood components, (including hemoglobin and hematocrit levels or the ratio of the volume of red blood cells to the total volume of blood). A CBC can provide a clear indication about a person’s overall health and whether they have any conditions, such as leukemia or kidney disease. In some cases, a test to determine the size and shape of your red blood cells will also be conducted. Treatment options for this condition depend on the type and the related causes of anemia. In most cases, treatment modalities include like vitamin and dietary supplements, folic acid supplementation, pain-relieving drugs, oxygen therapy and intravenous fluids. In severe cases of anemia, physicians may recommend blood transfusions, removal of the spleen (splenectomy) and bone marrow transplants.

Types of Anemia and Related ICD-10 Codes

Here discussed are the different types of anemia and its associated ICD-10 codes –

Iron deficiency anemia – This type of anemia occurs due to lack of the mineral iron in the body. Without adequate iron, the body cannot produce enough hemoglobin for red blood cells. Poor diet, frequent blood donations, certain digestive conditions (such as Crohn’s disease), endurance training and surgical removal of the gut are some of the possible cause of this condition. Related ICD-10 codes include –

  • D50 – Iron deficiency anemia
    • D50.0 – Iron deficiency anemia secondary to blood loss (chronic)
    • D50.1 – Sideropenic dysphagia
    • D50.8 – Other iron deficiency anemias
    • D50.9 – Iron deficiency anemia, unspecified

Vitamin deficiency anemia – This anemic condition may occur when vitamin B12 and folate- needed to make red blood cells are deficient. Treatment for folic acid and B-12 deficiency involves consuming dietary supplements and increasing these nutrients in your diet. ICD-10 codes include –

  • D51 – Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia
    • D51.0 – Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia due to intrinsic factor deficiency
    • D51.1 – Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia due to selective vitamin B12 mal-absorption with proteinuria
    • D51.2 – Transcobalamin II deficiency
    • D51.3 – Other dietary vitamin B12 deficiency anemia
    • D51.8 – Other vitamin B12 deficiency anemias
    • D51.9 – Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, unspecified
  • D52 – Folate deficiency anemia
    • D52.0 – Dietary folate deficiency anemia
    • D52.1 – Drug-induced folate deficiency anemia
    • D52.8 – Other folate deficiency anemias
    • D52.9 – Folate deficiency anemia, unspecified
  • D53 – Other nutritional anemias
    • D53.0 – Protein deficiency anemia
    • D53.1 – Other megaloblastic anemias, not elsewhere classified
    • D53.2 – Scorbutic anemia
    • D53.8 – Other specified nutritional anemias
    • D53.9 – Nutritional anemia, unspecified

Hemolytic anemia – This is a blood disorder in which the red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be made. The destruction of red blood cells is called hemolysis. Hemolytic anemia can be either inherited or acquired. Common symptoms of this condition include – paleness of the skin, dizziness, fatigue, fever, confusion and weakness or inability to do physical activity. There are different types of hemolytic anemias like – sickle cell disorder, Thalassemia, enzyme disorders and other hereditary and acquired disorders. ICD-10 codes for different types of hemolytic anemia include –

  • D55 – Anemia due to enzyme disorders
    • D55.0 – Anemia due to glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase [G6PD] deficiency
    • D55.1 – Anemia due to other disorders of glutathione metabolism
    • D55.2 – Anemia due to disorders of glycolytic enzymes
    • D55.3 – Anemia due to disorders of nucleotide metabolism
    • D55.8 – Other anemias due to enzyme disorders
    • D55.9 – Anemia due to enzyme disorder, unspecified
  • D56 – Thalassemia
    • D56.0 – Alpha thalassemia
    • D56.1 – Beta thalassemia
    • D56.2 – Delta-beta thalassemia
    • D56.3 – Thalassemia minor
    • D56.4 – Hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin (HPFH)
    • D56.5 – Hemoglobin E-beta thalassemia
    • D56.8 – Other thalassemias
    • D56.9 – Thalassemia, unspecified
  • D57 – Sickle-cell disorders
    • D57.0 – Hb-SS disease with crisis
    • D57.1 – Sickle-cell disease without crisis
    • D57.2 – Sickle-cell/Hb-C disease
    • D57.3 – Sickle-cell trait
    • D57.4 – Sickle-cell thalassemia
    • D57.8 – Other sickle-cell disorders
  • D58 – Other hereditary hemolytic anemias
    • D58.0 – Hereditary spherocytosis
    • D58.1 – Hereditary elliptocytosis
    • D58.2 – Other hemoglobinopathies
    • D58.8 – Other specified hereditary hemolytic anemias
    • D58.9 – Hereditary hemolytic anemia, unspecified
  • D59 – Acquired hemolytic anemia
    • D59.0 – Drug-induced autoimmune hemolytic anemia
    • D59.1 – Other autoimmune hemolytic anemias
    • D59.2 – Drug-induced nonautoimmune hemolytic anemia
    • D59.3 – Hemolytic-uremic syndrome
    • D59.4 – Other nonautoimmune hemolytic anemias
    • D59.5 – Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria [Marchiafava-Micheli]
    • D59.6 – Hemoglobinuria due to hemolysis from other external causes
    • D59.8 – Other acquired hemolytic anemias
    • D59.9 – Acquired hemolytic anemia, unspecified

Aplastic anemia – Regarded as a rare bone marrow failure disorder, this condition occurs when the bone marrow stops making enough blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets). The condition may arise due to several causes like – chronic exposure to toxic chemicals, viral infections, genetic abnormalities, myelodysplastic syndromes, undergoing cancer treatments and usage of certain medications. Treatment for this condition may include blood transfusion to boost the levels of red blood cells in your body. In certain cases, physicians may recommend a bone marrow transplant if your bone marrow is diseased and can’t make healthy blood cells. For reimbursement purposes, use the following ICD-10 codes –

  • D60 – Acquired pure red cell aplasia [erythroblastopenia]
  • D61 – Other aplastic anemias and other bone marrow failure syndromes
    • D61.0 – Constitutional aplastic anemia
    • D61.1 – Drug-induced aplastic anemia
    • D61.2 – Aplastic anemia due to other external agents
    • D61.3 – Idiopathic aplastic anemia
    • D61.8 – Other specified aplastic anemias and other bone marrow failure syndromes
    • D61.9 – Aplastic anemia, unspecified

Anemia of chronic disease – This type is associated with serious, chronic underlying conditions like – advanced kidney disease, hypothyroidism and other chronic diseases, such as cancer, infection, lupus, diabetes, and arthritis. As there is no specific treatment for this type of anemia, physicians normally focus on treating the underlying disease. If symptoms become severe, a blood transfusion or injections of synthetic erythropoietin, (a hormone normally produced by your kidneys) may help stimulate red blood cell production and ease fatigue. ICD-10 codes include –

  • D63 – Anemia in chronic diseases classified elsewhere
    • D63.0 – Anemia in neoplastic disease
    • D63.1 – Anemia in chronic kidney disease
    • D63.8 – Anemia in other chronic diseases classified elsewhere
  • D64 – Other anemias
    • D64.0 – Hereditary sideroblastic anemia
    • D64.1 – Secondary sideroblastic anemia due to disease
    • D64.2 – Secondary sideroblastic anemia due to drugs and toxins
    • D64.3 – Other sideroblastic anemias
    • D64.4 – Congenital dyserythropoietic anemia
    • D64.8 – Other specified anemias
    • D64.9 Anemia, unspecified

Any person who feels persistently weak and tired should immediately consult a physician and check for anemia. As there are different types of anemia, the chance of preventing this condition depends on the type and specific causes of the condition. Most cases of anemia can be prevented by making visible dietary changes that includes – iron-rich foods (like beef and other meats, iron-fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, and dried fruit), citrus fruits and juices and other dairy products.

Healthcare providers must have comprehensive knowledge about the specific ICD-10 codes related to documenting different types of anemia. An established medical billing and coding company can offer the essential medical coding services to physicians in order to ensure correct and timely claim submissions for optimal reimbursement.