Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic Anemia

What is aplastic anemia?

Aplastic anemia occurs when the bone marrow produces too few of all three types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. A reduced number of red blood cells causes hemoglobin to drop. A reduced number of white blood cells makes the patient susceptible to infection. And, a reduced number of platelets causes the blood not to clot the way it should.

What causes aplastic anemia?

Aplastic anemia has multiple causes. Some of these causes are idiopathic, meaning they occur sporadically for no known reason. Other causes are secondary, resulting from a previous illness or disorder. Acquired causes, however, may include the following:

What are the symptoms of aplastic anemia?

The following are the most common symptoms of aplastic anemia. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of aplastic anemia may resemble other blood disorders or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How is aplastic anemia diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for aplastic anemia may include:

Treatment for aplastic anemia

Specific treatment for aplastic anemia will be determined by your doctor based on:

Aplastic anemia is a serious illness and treatment usually depends on the underlying cause. For certain causes, recovery can be expected after treatment, however, relapses can occur. To treat the low blood counts, initially treatment is usually supportive, meaning that it is necessary to treat the symptoms but not possible to cure the disease. Supportive therapy may include:

In the appropriate patient, bone marrow transplantation may cure aplastic anemia.

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