Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blood Disorders : Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic anemia is a condition where the bone marrow does not produce sufficient enough of new cells to replenish the blood cells in the body.








There are many circumstances why the bone marrow can shut down production of new cells.


  • Radiation and chemotherapy treatments. While these cancer-fighting therapies kill cancer cells, they can also damage healthy cells, including stem cells in bone marrow. Aplastic anemia can be a temporary side effect of these treatments.
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals. Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as some used in pesticides and insecticides, may cause aplastic anemia. Exposure to benzene — an ingredient in gasoline — also has been linked to aplastic anemia. This type of anemia sometimes gets better on its own if you avoid repeated exposure to the chemicals that caused your initial illness.
  • Use of certain drugs. Some medications, such as those used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and some antibiotics, can cause aplastic anemia.
  • Autoimmune disorders. An autoimmune disorder, in which your immune system begins attacking healthy cells, may involve stem cells in your bone marrow.
  • A viral infection. Viral infections that affect bone marrow may play a role in the development of aplastic anemia in some people. Viruses that have been linked to the development of aplastic anemia include hepatitis, Epstein-Barr, cytomegalovirus, parvovirus B19 and HIV.
  • Pregnancy. Aplastic anemia that occurs in pregnancy may be related to an autoimmune problem — your immune system may attack your bone marrow during pregnancy.
  • Unknown factors. In many cases, doctors aren't able to identify the cause of aplastic anemia. This is called idiopathic aplastic anemia.
Above is an image of Aplastic anemia bone marrow biopsy under a microscope.

How is Aplastic Anemia Diagnosed?
A complete blood count is performed and the cell counts, hemoglobin will be low.  Also a bone marrow biopsy will be performed and sent to pathology for the cytology technologists to stain and prepare to be read by the pathologist.  The report is then sent to your family doctor , specialist or oncologist.  Hematology oncologist is the doctor who should treat aplastic anemia. If you like to view a bone marrow biopsy then go tot the following website.http://youtube.com/watch?v=dTKAU34
Reticulocyte count is another test that is ordered in the diagnosis of Aplastic anemia. It is a test that measures how fast the bone marrow is producing new red cells. The reticulocyte test will be higher in if the hemoglobin is low and the bone marrow is trying to produce more cells due to blood loss.
Erythropoietin is a blood test that measures the amount of erythropoietin, a hormone which tells the bone marrow to produce more red cells.  This hormone is made by the cells in the kidney. The kidney produces more of the EPO hormone when oxygen levels are lower.  When someone is anemic they have trouble breathing because they do not have enough red cells to carry the oxygen.

Treatment for Aplastic anemia includes blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, a stem cell transplant, immunosuppressants, bone marrow stimulants and antiviral medications.

Anytime you may feel abnormally fatigued and have shortness of breath you need to see care from a medical professional.  You need to make sure that a complete blood count is performed .

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aplastic-anemia/; http://www.medline.com ; http://labsonline.com













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Definition of Erythropoietin (EPO) Related Articles

Webster's New World
Medical Dictionary
Learn more »
Webster's New World Medical Dictionary MedTerms Medical Word
of the Day XML




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