About the disease
Pancytopenia is a condition, when there is insufficient amount of red and white blood cells and platelets. Overall, the insufficient amount of all these components of blood leads to a combination of conditions. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body, whereas white blood cells are part of the immune system and they help fight off the infections, whereas the platelets are responsible for proper blood clotting. People with pancytopenia have anemia, which is a condition when the amount of red blood cells is too low, also they have leukopenia and thrombocytopenia, which are conditions where there are low levels of white blood cells and platelets.
If pancytopenia is mild, a person may not even feel any symptoms of this condition. In mild cases pancytopenia is very often found accidentally during a regular blood tests. Nonetheless, in severe cases pancytopenia can be very dangerous and need to be treated immediately to prevent complications. The exact cause of pancytopenia has not been identified yet. In 50% the problem is with the bone marrow, where all blood cells are produced. If a person had leukemia or aplastic anemia, he/she can develop pancytopenia later in their life. In other 50% do not know the cause of pancytopenia.
- Shortness of breath
- Bleeding from the gums
- Easy bruising
- During a general examination, a doctor will ask if a person had high fever recently and what his/her symptoms are. He will also ask about family history and other conditions connected to the bone marrow function which a person could have before.
- A complete blood count is used to measure the amount of red and white blood cells and platelets in the blood and determine the cause of pancytopenia.
- A bone marrow aspiration is used to determine the exact problem with bone marrow which could be causing pancytopenia. A biopsy can be used as well to rule out other possible causes.
- Conservative treatment uses special drugs which boost the production of red and white blood cells and platelets and thus alleviate all the symptoms which can appear in severe cases. If pancytopenia was caused by an infection, that infection is treated as well. Blood transfusions can be used as well to increase the amount of blood cells.
- Stem cell transplantation can be used to boost the production of red and white blood cells and platelets in the blood and normalize their count.