Aplastic anaemia is a very serious condition that occurs when the body stops producing enough white and red blood cells in the bone marrow. It can occur suddenly or gradually and get worse over a period of time. While suffering from it, the patient may feel tired, is many times more prone to contract infections and develop uncontrolled bleeding.
The bone marrow is described in medical terms as aplastic or hypoplastic, meaning empty or containing very few blood cells. The factors that can affect bone marrow and blood cell production are radiation therapy, chemotherapy treatment, toxic chemicals exposure, certain drugs, autoimmune disorders, viral infections and pregnancy.
Early diagnosis of aplastic anaemia leads to prompt and effective treatment or there could be many complications. This is why it is so important to be able to identify symptoms of aplastic anaemia. The following are some symptoms:
- Pale appearance – If you look pale, it could be because of aplastic anaemia. When you look really pale and sickly, see a doctor.
- Lethargy – Feeling of weakness or being tired all at the same time is one of the signs of aplastic anaemia. If you get tired easily even while doing the most basic household chore, you should schedule an appointment with your health care provider.
- Increase in infections, ulcers and sores – You will get infections, unexplained bruises or mouth sores easily. Often, you may bleed from the nose, mouth, rectum and even the gums. When experiencing these symptoms, schedule a checkup with your doctor.
Treatment for aplastic anemia may include medications, blood transfusions or a bone marrow transplant.
- Blood transfusions – Blood transfusions provide blood cells that your bone marrow isn't producing. It is not a cure for the condition but blood transfusion helps control bleeding and alleviate anemia symptoms. Blood transfusion of red blood cells relieve fatigue while transfusion of platelets help prevent excessive bleeding.
- Bone marrow transplant – Also referred to as stem cell transplant, the procedure rebuilds the bone marrow with stem cells from a donor. A stem cell transplant carries risks, but it is the only successful treatment option for people with severe aplastic anaemia.
- Medications – Bone marrow stimulants stimulate the bone marrow to produce new blood cells. These are often used in combination with immune-suppressing drugs. Antibiotics and antivirals are other medications that helps white blood cells in circulation to fight off germs.
- If your work requires you to work with the industrial chemicals, take all necessary precautions to be safe from them.
If you have to work with insecticides or pesticides, avoid direct exposure to them as much as possible. As a consumer, avoid buying foods that are treated with these chemicals.
- Autoimmune disorders put your immune system at risk and damage your bone marrow. If you have an autoimmune disorder, get it treated as soon as possible.
- If you are at higher risk of getting aplastic anaemia, ask your doctor for medicines to prevent aplastic anaemia.
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