Health - Conditions
By: - at May 29, 2013

Symptoms and Treatments of Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic Anemia
Aplastic AnemiaThe medical conditions in which bone marrow, along with its resident blood stem cells, get damaged, consequently causing insufficiency of RBCs (red blood cells); WBCs (white blood cells); and platelets is known as Aplastic Anemia. This medical condition can occur in youngsters as well as elder people. The most common reasons that cause this disease are excessive intake of drugs, exposure to harsh and poisonous chemicals and radiation. Internal and external infections are also known to be a reason behind the occurrence of Aplastic Anemia. However, half of the Aplastic Anemia cases have emerged out to be due to hereditary factor. The sure shot diagnosis of this ailment is the occurrence of fat in the bone marrow where normal blood stem cells should have been present. Those suffering from Aplastic Anemia have only fat detected in their bone marrow biopsy in place of at least 30 percent to 70 percent of usual blood stem cells. The proven and typical treatment of Aplastic anemia is immune-suppressive drugs, usually anti-thymocyte globulin or anti-lymphocyte globulin. These two drugs are amalgamated with cyclosporine and corticosteroids. Since Aplastic Anemia is known to have an autoimmune constituent, the responsiveness of above mentioned drug is nearly up to 70%. Those patients who are above the age of 30 years are treated with Stem cell transplantation procedure.

Symptomatic Signs of Aplastic Anemia
Man with glasses SweatingOne striking symptom of Aplastic Anemia is the striking of anemia with pallor and malaise, coupled with palpitations and excessive sweating. There is exaggerated decline in the count of platelets (also known as Thrombocytopenia) that further leads towards possibility of bruising and internal bleeding. The patients of Aplastic Anemia have also been seen suffering from Leukopenia where the count of white blood cell falls dramatically. Under this condition, the chances of catching infection rise unnaturally. Another symptomatic warning of Aplastic Anemia is the reduction in the count of undeveloped red blood cells. This is also known as reticulocytopenia.

Causes of Aplastic Anemia
Chemical LabelAs discussed earlier also, the likelihood of occurrence of this ailment increases when there is excessive exposure to harsh chemicals and radiation, excessive intake of narcotic drugs, occurrence of infection, along with hereditary factor. Sometimes, in some of the cases, the cause of Aplastic Anemia goes undetected. The chemicals and toxins that are known to be the causing factor of Aplastic Anemia are benzene along with carbamazepine, chloramphenicol, phenytoin, felbamate, and phenylbutazone. Those most of these drugs, such as chloramphenicol and carbamazepine, have low probability of being a causal factor. Aplastic Anemia is likely to be developed when human bodies are exposed radioactive material or other radiation causing material. One significant example of Marie Curie signifies that constant working in the close proximity of radioactive material, and its unavoidable field, can take its toll on life. She used to work unguarded for long hours under ionizing radiation, thus damaging her health irreparably. Another known cause of Aplastic Anemia is an autoimmune disorder. In this disorder white blood cells hit the bone marrow for their damaging effect. Aplastic Anemia for short duration is the resultant of parvovirus infection. This infection is caused by B19 virus and completely terminates the production of red blood cell.




Diagnosis of Aplastic Anemia
The diagnosis of Aplastic Anemia has to be differentiated from its namesake ailment pure red cell aplasia. While in aplastic anemia, the patient experiences in reduction all elements of blood pure red cell aplasia results in diminishing of only red blood cells only. A judicious diagnosis can be done with complete examination of bone marrow examination. Apart from this, there are several other tests also including renal function test, blood count, electrolyte test, liver enzymes, test of vitamin B12, levels of folic acid, and thyroid function tests. Other diagnostic tests that help in detecting Aplastic Anemia are –

  • Bone marrow aspirate and biopsy
     
  • Past record of iatrogenic exposure and cytotoxic chemotherapy
     
  • Causes of transient bone marrow suppression
     
  • X-rays
     
  • CT scans
     
  • Ultrasound imaging tests
     
  • Detection of lymph nodes
     
  • Kidneys’ function test
     
  • Bones’ density test
     
  • Chest X-ray
     
  • History of infections
     
  • Liver function tests
     
  • Vitamin deficiency

Treatment
The treatment of Aplastic Anemia involves intake of daily medicine that would suppress the immune system. In severe cases, transplantation of bone marrow is conducted as a potent cure. The transplantation helps in replacement of depleting bone marrow cells with newer ones that ae obtained from a matching donor. Amongst other treatments of Aplastic Anemia, there is a short-term course of anti-thymocyte globulin or anti-lymphocyte globulin along with cyclosporine. This therapy regulates the body’s immunity. Some patients are also administered with mediocre chemotherapy involving medication like vincristine and cyclo-phosphamide. The nausea caused by chemotherapy is combated by steroids.


 

 

 

 

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