About the disease
Aplastic anemia is a disease, when body is not able to produce sufficient amount of new blood cells. As a result, person lacks needed nutrients and starts to feel fatigue and weakness. He is also more exposed to different infections and any uncontrollable bleeding can become a medical emergency. Aplastic anemia is considered to be a rare condition, which can generally develop at any age. It can develop gradually and the onset can be sudden and cause more pronounced symptoms.
Aplastic anemia appears, when bone marrow stops producing sufficient amount of white and red blood cells. These blood cells are produced from the stem cells, which are located in the bone marrow. There can be not enough stem cells produced if a person has been exposed to the radioactive and chemotherapy agents for a long time. Exposure to certain toxic chemicals, such as gasoline, can also result in development of aplastic anemia. People with autoimmune disorders, which attacks stem cells, are more likely to develop aplastic anemia in future. Viral infections, such as hepatitis of different types, can also affect production of new blood cells. In rare cases pregnancy can be a precipitating factor in women, who already have autoimmune disorders.
- Pale skin
- Weight loss
- Frequent infections, which heal longer than usual
- Prolonged bleeding from nose or sores
- Unexplained bruising, which appeared without any previous falls or injuries
- Loss of consciousness
- Low blood pressure
- Blood test is usually enough to diagnose aplastic anemia, as it can reveal if there is insufficient amount of white and red blood cells. It also determines if there are not enough platelets in the blood stream, as their insufficient amount can also cause development of aplastic anemia.
- Biopsy of bone marrow is mainly used if there is suspicion of cancer, which sometimes has similar symptoms. Sample tissue is usually removed from the hip bone, where bone marrow is most accessible.
- Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is a surgery used to resect the old bone marrow and transplant the new one from a donor, which has genetically similar stem cells. It is used when conservative treatment was unable to renew the normal production of blood cells.
- Immunosuppressive therapy is used if aplastic anemia was caused by certain autoimmune disorders. In this case, immune system is partially blocked to allow the bone marrow produce sufficient amount of stem cells. For a course of treatment a person needs to be extra cautious to avoid infections and viral diseases as their immune system won't be able to fight them as it used to do.