Aplastic anaemia is a disease that occurs when the bone marrow’s stem cells fail to produce sufficient blood cells, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Usually, all three types of affected blood cells are called pancytopenia.
Red blood cells - These carry oxygen (anaemia).
White blood cells - These fight infections (neutropenia).
Platelets - These aid blood clotting and prevent bleeding (thrombocytopenia).
In aplastic anaemia, few normal types of blood cells mature and enter the bloodstream. Aplastic anaemia is associated with some cancers and their treatments, but it is not a type of cancer.
Aplastic anaemia symptoms
Aplastic anaemia symptoms differ from person to person. Common symptoms include:
Consult your primary care doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms. Many other health problems can also cause these symptoms. Therefore, your doctor may recommend a few diagnostic tests to check for other health conditions and anaemia.
If aplastic anaemia is confirmed, the doctor will refer you to a specialist for further treatment.
Consult our general physicians for more information and adequate treatment of aplastic anaemia disorder.
Stem cells in the bone marrow are responsible for producing blood cells such as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Stem cell damage is observed in aplastic anaemia, due to which the bone marrow can become empty (aplastic) or consist of a few blood cells (hypoplastic).
The primary cause of aplastic anaemia is the immune system attacking bone marrow stem cells. Aplastic anaemia can happen at any age, but it is mostly seen among teens, young adults, and older adults.
Other risk factors that can injure bone marrow and alter blood cell production are listed below.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatments
While these cancer therapies destroy malignant cells, they can also harm healthy cells, such as the stem cells in the bone marrow. A side effect of these treatments could be aplastic anaemia.
Exposure to toxic chemicals
Exposures to toxic chemicals, especially in the workplace, like pesticides, benzene, paint removers, organic solvents, herbicides and other toxins, increases the risk of aplastic anaemia. However, symptoms of anaemia can be reversed if repeated exposure to harmful chemicals is avoided.
Certain medicines used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and a few antibiotics can give rise to aplastic anaemia.
In this disorder, the body's immune system accidentally attacks and kills healthy body cells, including the stem cells in the bone marrow resulting in aplastic anaemia.
Aplastic anaemia can develop due to viral infections affecting the bone marrow. Viral infections linked to aplastic anaemia are hepatitis, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr, parvovirus B19 and HIV.
The immune system can attack the bone marrow during pregnancy.
In various cases, it becomes difficult for the doctors to identify the cause of aplastic anaemia (idiopathic aplastic anaemia).
The tests listed below can detect aplastic anaemia:
Complete blood count (CBC) test:
Complete blood count (CBC) test:This blood test measures the blood cell levels. Usually, blood cells stay in their normal range. All three blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelet levels, are low in aplastic anaemia.
Bone marrow biopsy:
This biopsy procedure involves taking out a small bone marrow sample from inside the bones, for example, the hipbone, for testing. In aplastic anaemia, bone marrow blood cell levels are lower than normal.
Treatment options for aplastic anaemia are directed by the underlying cause and depend on many factors, such as age, general health and symptoms. The treatment includes
For individuals unable to undergo a bone marrow transplant or whose autoimmune condition is the cause of their aplastic anaemia, these treatments can alter or suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants).
Bone marrow stimulants
When blood cell counts are low, bone marrow stimulating drugs are given to boost the body's production of blood cells. These stimulants have serious risks and side effects. Additionally, it should be noted that these medications are not used to treat all cases of "low counts".
A blood transfusion is preferred to replace blood and components that may be too low. Transfusions cannot treat aplastic anaemia, but they can easily manage symptoms like bruising or fatigue.
Stem cell transplant
A bone marrow or stem cell transplant can cure severe aplastic anaemia. Stem cell transplants replace damaged stem cells with healthy ones.
Aplastic anaemia weakens immunity, which makes a person prone to infections. For a severe aplastic anaemia patient, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medications to keep infections away.
Do’s and Don’ts
Follow the below-mentioned Do’s and Don’ts to prevent aplastic anaemia disorder and its complications. It is a rare, serious blood disorder caused when the bone marrow cannot make blood cells. Its complications include bleeding, infections or transformation to lymphoproliferative disorders.
Aplastic anaemia symptoms include fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, easy bruising, infections, irregular heartbeat, and dizziness. Its diagnosis includes a blood test and bone marrow biopsy. Its treatment involves bone marrow transplant, blood transfusion and medicines.
Aplastic Anaemia Care at Medicover
At Medicover hospitals, we have the most experienced and trusted medical team of oncologists and haematologists who provide the best management for aplastic anaemia. We are dedicated to providing excellent healthcare services to our patients holistically. Our team adopts a multidimensional approach to manage anaemia and its related complications with utmost care and the active participation of healthcare experts from different specialities. We ensure world-class healthcare facilities in all our departments at affordable prices to ensure high-quality treatment outcomes.