APLASTIC ANEMIA & TREATMENT
Definition: What is "Aplastic anemia"?
Aplastic anemia is a condition wherein the bone marrow does not produce enough new cells to replenish the blood cells. The word "aplastic" refers to the marrow that suffers from aplasia, making it unable to function normally. Anemia is the disorder that results in having lesser red blood cells than normal, which are needed to function properly. Although anemia refers to low levels of red blood cells, Aplastic anemia differs due to the lower counts of all blood cell types - platelets, white blood cells & red blood cells.
Symptoms & Signs
Symptoms of Aplastic anemia include low white blood cell count (that leads to infection), low platelet count (that leads to bruising & hemorrhage) & anemia with pallor, malaise & other associated symptoms.
Treatment: How to Treat "Aplastic anemia"?
Diagnosis of Aplastic anemia can only be confirmed through a bone marrow exam after blood tests for full blood count, liver enzymes, renal function & electrolytes, thyroid function exams, folic acid levels & vitamin B12 levels. In the past, treatments of Aplastic anemia patients with low leukocyte counts are confined to a bubble or sterile room to reduce the risks of infections. To treat Aplastic anemia, suppression of the immune system combined with daily medications are necessary. However, for severe cases of Aplastic anemia, a bone marrow transplant can cure the disorder, but can be a risky procedure. Medical therapies for Aplastic anemia include a course of anti-thymocyte globulin, several months of cyclosporine, which are both used in modulating the immune system. Mild chemotherapy can also be used with vincristine or cyclophosphamide. Some recommend antibodies therapies for target T-cells & ATG, which are both believed to attack bone marrows.
The most common cause of Aplastic anemiais autoimmune disorder, wherein white blood cells attack & destroy the bone marrow. Aplastic anemia is also present in over 2% of all patients with acute viral hepatitis. Majority of Aplastic anemia cases are associated with exposure to substances like radiation & benzene. It may also be caused by use of various drugs, such as quinine, chloramphenical, felbamate, carbamazepine, phenylbutazone & phenytoin.