Aplastic anemia

What is aplastic anemia?

When your body stops making enough new blood cells, you get aplastic anemia. You’ll feel exhausted, and you’ll be more susceptible to infections and uncontrollable bleeding as a result of the disease.

Aplastic anemia is a rare and dangerous illness that can strike at any age. It can happen all of a sudden or gradually deteriorate over time. It can range from minor to severe.

Medication, blood transfusions, or a stem cell transplant, often known as a bone marrow transplant, may be used to treat aplastic anemia.

What is aplastic anemia?

Aplastic anemia is a condition in which your bone marrow fails to produce enough red and white blood cells, as well as platelets. Hemoglobin levels drop when there are fewer red blood cells in the body.

Hemoglobin is a component of blood that transports oxygen throughout the body. You’re more prone to catch an infection if you have fewer white blood cells. In addition, having fewer platelets causes the blood to become overly thin. This suggests your blood isn’t clotting properly.

What causes aplastic anemia?

Aplastic anaemia can be caused by a variety of factors. It can happen for no apparent cause. Other factors can be traced back to a past disease or condition. The following are examples of acquired causes:

  • History of certain infectious diseases (such as hepatitis, HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, CMV, or paravirus B19)

  • History of taking certain medicines, such as antibiotics and anticonvulsants

  • Exposure to certain toxins, such as heavy metals

  • Exposure to radiation

  • History of an autoimmune disease, such as lupus

  • Inherited condition

Symptoms of aplastic anemia

Aplastic anemia can have no symptoms. When present, signs and symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Pale skin
  • Frequent or prolonged infections
  • Unexplained or easy bruising
  • Nosebleeds and bleeding gums
  • Prolonged bleeding from cuts
  • Skin rash
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fever

Causes of aplastic anemia

Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are all produced by stem cells in the bone marrow. Aplastic anemia causes harm to stem cells. As a result, the bone marrow is either empty (aplastic) or contains a small number of blood cells (hypoplastic) (hypoplastic).

Aplastic anemia is most commonly caused by your immune system attacking the stem cells in your bone marrow. Other causes that can harm bone marrow and impact the formation of blood cells include:

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used to treat cancer. While these cancer-fighting treatments target cancer cells, they can also harm healthy cells, such as bone marrow stem cells. These medications may cause aplastic anaemia as a transient side effect.
Toxic chemical exposure: Aplastic anaemia has been connected to toxic compounds such as those found in herbicides and insecticides, as well as benzene, a component of gasoline. If you prevent recurrent exposure to the substances that caused your illness, your anaemia may improve.
Certain medications are used. Aplastic anaemia can be caused by some drugs, such as those used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and antibiotics.
Autoimmune diseases are a type of autoimmune disease. Stem cells in your bone marrow may be involved in an autoimmune illness in which your immune system assaults healthy cells.
An infection caused by a virus : Aplastic anaemia can be triggered by viral infections that affect the bone marrow. Hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus, CMV, parvovirus B19, and HIV have all been related to aplastic anaemia.
Pregnancy : During pregnancy, your immune system may assault your bone marrow.
Factors that are unknown: Doctors are frequently unable to determine the cause of aplastic anaemia (idiopathic aplastic anemia).

Diagnosis of aplastic anemia

  • Blood tests. These may include blood chemistries, evaluation of liver and kidney functions, and genetic studies.

  • Bone marrow aspiration or biopsy. This involves taking a small amount of bone marrow fluid (aspiration) or solid bone marrow tissue (called a core biopsy). These are usually taken from the hip bones. They are checked for the number, size, and maturity of blood cells or abnormal cells.

Treatment of aplastic anemia

Treatment of aplastic anemia is based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • How sick you are

  • How well you can handle certain medicines, procedures, or therapies

  • How long the condition is expected to last

  • Your opinion or preference

Aplastic anaemia is a life-threatening condition. The underlying cause is frequently the determining factor in treatment. After therapy, you may be able to recover from certain reasons. However, the issue may resurface. Early treatment for low blood counts could include:

  • Blood transfusion (both red blood cells and platelets)

  • Preventive antibiotic therapy

  • Good hygiene to prevent infection

  • Special care when making food (such as only eating well-cooked foods)

  • Avoiding construction sites, which may be a source of certain fungi

  • Medicines to stimulate the bone marrow to produce cells

  • Treatment to reduce your body’s immune system response

  • Hormone therapy

In certain people, a bone marrow transplant may cure aplastic anemia.

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  • September 7th, 2021

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