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Aplastic Anemia

What is Aplastic Anemia?

Aplastic anemia is a rare but extremely serious disorder that results from the unexplained failure of the bone marrow to produce enough blood cells.

Aplastic anemia is not contagious. It can affect anyone at any age.

Symptoms of Aplastic Anemia

The most common symptoms of aplastic anemia are:

  • unexplained infections
  • unexpected bleeding
  • fatigue

What Causes Aplastic Anemia?

Aplastic anemia has been clearly linked to radiation, environmental toxins, insecticides, and drugs.

Benzene-based compounds, airplane glue, and drugs such as chloramphenicol have been linked to aplastic anemia.

In some individuals, aplastic anemia is believed to be caused by a virus.

How is Aplastic Anemia Diagnosed?

If your doctor believes you may have aplastic anemia, he will order blood and bone marrow tests. The blood is tested for very low levels of all three blood cells. The bone marrow will be tested to determine the levels of cells that are responsible for producing blood cells.

Can Aplastic Anemia be treated?

Yes. Aplastic anemia is a medial emergency. Immediate care is needed.

Treatment options

Some of the most common treatments are: blood transfusion, antibiotics, isolation, reduced activity, bone marrow transplant, and drug therapies.

Blood transfusion: Aplastic anemia patients are often given transfusions. Anemia is corrected by red cell transfusions.

Antibiotics: Antibiotics are needed to control of infection.

Isolation: Isolation is needed to prevent transfer of infection to aplastic anemia patients.

Activity: Activity must be restricted to reduce symptoms of anemia.

Bone marrow transplantation is now being used more and more frequently for aplastic anemia patients who are good candidates and who have a matched donor.

Drug Therapies are used to build up the patients immune system.

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