Aplastic anemia is an extremely rare, occasionally serious and potentially life threatening blood disorder.
What happens with this form of anemia is that for some mysterious reason your blood producing stem cells become damaged. As the maker of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, impaired blood stem cells either slow or stop producing these life sustaining cells.
This low blood count condition caused by inexplicable blood stem cell injury is what’s known as aplastic anemia. Some general consequential symptoms of this form of anemia embody:
- oral thrush
- enlarged liver
- enlarged spleen
- swollen lymph nodes
- exercise induced dyspnea
Each blood cell type has its own low blood count effects on your body. Low red cell count causes:
- heart murmur
- rapid heartbeat
- irregular heartbeat
- pale skin, gums, nail beds
- dizziness with standing up
Low white cell count causes:
Low platelet count causes:
- bruise easily
- blood in stool
- bleeding gums
- hard to stop bleeding
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- pinpoint red spots on skin
Aplastic anemia can begin suddenly (acute) or slowly develop (chronic), getting worse over time.
Hereditary and acquired are two main types of aplastic anemia. Hereditary form is believed to be an autoimmune disease. Acquired one is believed to be caused or triggered by:
- toxic chemicals ~ pesticides, arsenic, benzene
- chemotherapy, radiation treatments for cancer
- autoimmune diseases ~ lupus, rheumatoid arthritis
- viral infections ~ hepatitis, Epstein Barr, cytomegalovirus, parvovirus, HIV
A shortage of red, white and platelet blood cells will have a few effects on your body, like:
- enlarged heart
- potential heart failure
- extensive loss of blood
- long lasting infection caused illness
Severe aplastic anemia that is not treated promptly can be fatal.
Some of the treatments for aplastic anemia are similar to bone marrow related cancers or disorders, including:
- blood transfusions
- stem cell transplant
- bone marrow transplant
- bone marrow stimulating drugs
- medications to suppress the immune system
Mild cases of aplastic anemia may require no treatment, or simply some form of infection control treatment.
A third of those suffering from aplastic anemia also have a condition called paroxysmal. This blood disorder is only associated with a low red blood cell count. Usually symptomless, but when symptoms are present they involve:
- blood in urine
- shortness of breath
- abdominal pain, swelling
- leg edema caused by blood clots
Many have paroxysmal first and then develop aplastic anemia. But it does happen in the reverse.
Many with aplastic anemia are treated successfully, some even cured, with prompt, appropriate treatment. Albeit it may take time and some treatment variety for blood count health to rise. So zealously stay on your blood building course.