Aplastic anemia | Symptoms Causes and Treatment

Aplastic Anemia

Overview

Aplastic Anemia is a disease that develops when your body ceases to produce enough blood cells to make new. This condition causes fatigue and is more susceptible to infections and bleeding that are not controlled.

A rare and severe disease, aplastic anemia may occur at any time. It may occur suddenly or it could develop gradually, and get worse as time passes. It could be severe or mild.

The treatment for aplastic anemia could consist of blood transfusions, medications or stem cell transplants often referred to as bone marrow transplants.

Signs and symptoms

Aplastic anemia is not a condition that has symptoms. In the event that it is the disease is present, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Breathing shortness
  • Heart rate irregular or rapid
  • Pale skin
  • Chronic or frequent infections
  • Unknown or simple bruising
  • Bleeding gums and nosebleeds
  • Long-term bleeding from cuts
  • Skin eruption
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fever

Aplastic anemia may be short-lived but it could also become chronic. It is often severe and sometimes fatal.

The Reasons

Stem cells found in bone marrow make blood cells, including white cells, red cells, and platelets. In anaplastic anemia condition, the stem cells suffer damage. This means that the bone marrow may be completely devoid of blood cells (aplastic) or have a small number of red blood cells (hypoplastic).

The most frequent cause of aplastic anemia comes due to an immune system that attacks stem cells that reside in the bone marrow. Other causes that may cause injury to bone marrow and alter the production of blood cells are:

  • Treatments for chemotherapy and radiation. Although these treatments destroy cancerous cells, they may cause damage to healthy cells, like the bone marrow’s stem cells. Aplastic anemia could be an unavoidable side effect of these treatments.
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals. Toxic chemicals like the ones used in pesticides as well as insecticides, as well as benzene, one of the ingredients in gasoline have been linked with anemia that is aplastic. This kind of anemia could be improved if you steer clear of repeated contact with the chemical responsible for your condition.
  • The use of certain medications. Aplastic anemia is caused by certain medications, including those used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and certain antibiotics.
  • Autoimmune disorders. An autoimmune disease, that is when your immune system attacks healthy cells. This may involve stem cells within the bone marrow of your body.
  • The virus causes. Viral infections which affect bone marrow could be a factor in the formation of anemia that is aplastic. Viruses associated with aplastic anemia include Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus B19, and HIV.
  • Pregnancy. Your immune system could damage your bone marrow in the course of pregnancy.
  • Unknown triggers. In many instances, doctors aren’t able to determine the root of the condition known as aplastic anemia (idiopathic anemia of the aplastic type).

Connections to other rare diseases

A few people suffering from Aplastic anemia also suffer from a rare condition known as paroxysmal hemoglobinuria nocturnal, which results in red blood cell fragments to a breakdown in a hurry. This can result in anemia that is aplastic, or anemia, which can develop into paroxysmal hemoglobinuria nocturnal.

Fanconi’s Anemia can be described as a very rare genetic disease that can cause anemia with aplastic characteristics. Children with this condition tend to be smaller than the average and may have birth defects, for example, limbs with weak development. The condition is diagnosed by blood tests.

Risk factors

Aplastic anemia is a rare condition. Factors that increase the risk include:

  • High-dose radiation therapy or chemotherapy to treat cancer
  • Exposure to chemicals that are toxic
  • The use of certain prescribed drugs, like chloramphenicol, for instance — helps treat bacterial infections and gold compounds that are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Certain blood disorders and autoimmune conditions, as well as severe infections
  • Pregnancy, rarely

Prevention

There’s no way to prevent the majority of cases of aplastic anemia. Beware of exposure to insecticides, organic solvents and herbicides paint removers, and other harmful chemicals can reduce your chance of contracting the disease.

Diagnosis

The following tests can be used to determine if you have aplastic anemia

  • Blood tests. Normally, the red blood cells, as well as white blood cells and platelet levels, remain within certain levels. In the case of aplastic anemia, the three amounts of cells in the blood are reduced.
  • Bone bone marrow biopsy. A doctor makes use of an instrument to extract the small amount of bone marrow that is located in a larger bone inside your body, like your hipbone. The specimen is examined under microscopes to rule out any other blood-related disorders. In the case of aplastic anemia, the bone marrow has smaller amounts of red blood cells than normal. The confirmation of the diagnosis of aplastic anemia is an examination of bone marrow.

If you’ve been diagnosed with anemia with aplastic features, you could need additional tests to find out the reason.

 

Aplastic anemia is caused by certain medications, including those used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and certain antibiotics.

Viruses associated with aplastic anemia include Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus B19, and HIV.

 

Treatment

Treatments for aplastic Anemia, depending on the degree of severity and illness and the age of your patient, could consist of blood transfusions, observation, and medications, as well as bone transplantation of the bone marrow. Aplastic anemia is severe that occurs when the number of blood cells in your body is extremely low, can be life-threatening, and requires urgent hospitalization.

Transfusions of blood

Although they aren’t an effective treatment for aplastic anemia the blood transfusion can manage bleeding and alleviate symptoms by supplying the bone marrow with blood cells it isn’t producing. You might receive:

  • The red blood cells. They increase the number of red blood cells and assist in relieving fatigue and anemia.
  • Platelets. They help stop bleeding excessively.

Although there’s no limit on the number of blood transfusions you could undergo, problems can result from several transfusions. Transfused red blood cells are a source of iron that can accumulate in your body. It can cause damage to vital organs if an iron overload isn’t addressed. Medical treatments can help eliminate the body of iron.

As time passes, your body may create antibodies against transfused blood cells, which makes them less effective in alleviating symptoms. The use of medications that suppress the immune system can make this problem less likely.

Stem cells transplant

A stem cell transplantation to restore bone marrow using stem cells donated by donors may be the most effective treatment option for patients suffering from severe anemia that is aplastic. Stem cell transplants, sometimes called a bone-marrow transplant, is usually the preferred treatment for patients who are young and have an appropriate donor usually one of their siblings.

If you find a donor the bone marrow of your ailing patient is then wiped out by treatment or radiation. Stem cells that are healthy that come from donors are then removed from the blood. Healthy stem cells are injected intravenously into the bloodstream. They then migrate into bone marrow cavities and start to create new blood cells.

The procedure is a lengthy hospital stay. Following it, the donor will be given medication to stop the rejection of the stem cells.

The process of transferring stem cells is not without risk. Your body might reject the transplant, which could lead to life-threatening issues. Additionally, not every person is a suitable candidate or has an appropriate donor.

Immunosuppressants

For people who can’t undergo a bone marrow transplant or for those whose aplastic anemia is due to an autoimmune disorder, treatment can involve drugs that alter or suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants).

The drugs Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune) and anti-thymocyte globulin reduce the immune cell activity which are causing damage to the bone marrow. This allows your bone marrow to regenerate and produce the new cells for blood. Cyclosporine and anti-thymocyteglobulin are commonly used together.

Corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone (Medrol Solu-Medrol) are frequently employed in conjunction with these medications.

While they are effective, these medications can also weaken your immune system. There is also a chance for anemia to return following the discontinuation of these medications.

Bone stimulation of the marrow

Certain drugs , including factors that stimulate colony growth, like sargramostim (Leukine) filgrastim (Neupogen) and pegfilgrastim (Neulasta) as well as epoetin alfa (Epogen/Procrit) and the drug eltrombopag (Promacta) They stimulate bone marrow to create the new cells for blood. Growth factors are frequently employed in conjunction with immunosuppressing medications.

Antibiotics, antivirals, and antivirals

Aplastic anemia can weaken your immune systemand makes you more susceptible to getting sick.

If you are suffering from aplastic Anemia visit your doctor when you first notice signs of infection, for example, fever. The infection shouldn’t be allowed to get any worse because it may be life-threatening. If you suffer from severe Aplastic Anemia, your physician may prescribe antibiotics or other medication to prevent infections.

Other treatments

Aplastic anemia that is caused by chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer generally improves after these treatments cease. Similar is the case for other medications which cause anemia due to aplastic.

Pregnant women suffering from Aplastic Anemia can be treated with blood transfusions. For many women, pregnancy-related aplastic anemia will improve once the pregnancy has ended. If this doesn’t happen the treatment will still be needed.

Lifestyle and home remedies for home

If you are suffering from aplastic Anemia ensure that you ensure you take care of yourself:

  • Remaining in bed when you have to. Anemia can result in tiredness and breath shortness with even moderate exertion. Pause and take a relax when you’re in need of.
  • Avoiding contact sports. Due to the possibility of bleeding that comes with low platelet count Avoid activities that could result in a cut or fall.
  • Guarding yourself against the spread of germs. Clean your hands often and stay clear of people who are sick. If you notice symptoms of infection, visit your physician to seek treatment.

Support and Coping

Strategies to help you and your family cope better with illness include:

  • Learn about your condition. The more you understand, the better prepared you’ll become to make decisions about treatment.
  • Ask questions. Make sure you ask your doctor any questions that is related to your illness or treatment that you do not comprehend. It may help you note down or record the information your doctor gives you.
  • Be vocal. Do not be afraid to speak up about any concerns you have to the physician or other health professionals who treat you.
  • Get assistance. Ask your family and friends to provide emotional help. Consider asking them to become donors of blood or Marrow donors. It may be helpful to connect with others who are struggling with the illness. Ask your physician if he or she has information about local support groups or call for the Aplastic Anemia as well as MDS International Foundation. It provides a peer-support network and is accessible at 800-747-2920.
  • Be sure to take care of yourself. A healthy diet and adequate sleep are essential to maximizing blood flow.

You are preparing for your appointment

Begin by scheduling appointments with the primary healthcare physician. The doctor may then recommend you to a physician who is specialized in the treatment of problems with blood (hematologist). If anemia is detected suddenly, your treatment may be initiated in the emergency room.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your appointment.

What can you do

Make a list of

  • The symptoms you are experiencing and the time they started
  • Important personal information, like any recent changes in your life for example, the start of a new job, specifically ones that expose you to chemicals
  • Vitamins, medications, and other supplements that you take and dosages
  • Questions you can ask your doctor

Bring an adult family member or companion with you to visit you doctor, should it be you can for you to remember the information you’re provided.

If you suffer from aplastic anemia, the concerns to ask your doctor are:

  • What is the most likely reason for my symptoms?
  • Are there any other possible explanations to my symptoms?
  • What’s my chance of recovery?
  • What are the available treatments and which ones do you would you recommend?
  • Are there alternatives to the initial method you’re suggesting?
  • I have another health problem. What is the best way to deal with them all?
  • Are you able to find brochures or other printed materials I could request? Which websites do you recommend?

What can you be expecting from your doctor?

Your doctor may inquire about your health for example:

  • Are you suffering from recent infections?
  • Have you ever bled in a sudden way?
  • Are you more tired than you normally are?
  • Does anything appear to ease your symptoms?
  • Do you notice anything that could aggravate your symptoms?

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