Monday, April 11, 2011

Aplastic or Hypoplastic Anemias a€“ Remedies for the Treatment of Disease - Diseases Treatment - Symptoms, Causes and Cure for Diseases on A to Z

What are these Conditions?

Aplastic or hypoplastic anemias result from injury or destruction of stem cells, which are located in the bone marrow and function to produce new blood cells. These anemias impair production of all blood cell types (pancytopenia) or retard bone marrow development (bone marrow hypoplasia) and generally progress to fatal bleeding or infection.

What Causes them?

Aplastic anemias usually develop when damaged or destroyed stem cells hinder production of red blood cells. Less commonly, they result from damaged vessels in the bone marrow. About half of these anemias result from certain drugs, poisons (such as the solvent benzene and the drug chloramphenicol), or radiation. The rest may result from immunologic factors, serious diseases (especially hepatitis), or bone marrow cancers.

What are their Symptoms?

Symptoms of aplastic anemias vary with the severity of pancytopenia and often develop gradually. Anemia, which is a shortage of red blood cells, may cause progressive weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, pallor and, ultimately, rapid heart rate and congestive heart failure. A low platelet count leads to red or purple spots on the skin and hemorrhage, especially from the mucous membranes (nose, gums, rectum, vagina) or into the retina or central nervous system. Neutropenia (deficiency of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell) may lead to infection (fever, oral and rectal ulcers, sore throat) without inflammation.

How are they Diagnosed?

To confirm aplastic anemia, the doctor will order a series of blood tests that measure the number and size of red blood cells, the number of white blood cells, iron levels, clotting time, and other factors. Bone marrow aspiration from several sites may provide additional data.

How are they Treated?

Effective treatment must eliminate any identifiable cause and provide vigorous supportive measures, including transfusions of specific blood elements. Even after the cause is eliminated, recovery can take months. Bone marrow transplantation is the treatment of choice for anemia due to severe aplasia and for people who need continual red blood cell transfusions. Special infection control precautions are used to prevent infection in people with low white blood cell counts. If an infection develops, it may require antibiotics; however, antibiotics must be administered carefully because they tend to encourage resistant strains of organisms. Some people may need oxygen to help them breathe. Other treatments include drug therapy with steroids, which are successful in children but not in adults. Drugs that stimulate the bone marrow, such as androgens, are controversial. Antilymphocyte globulin, an experimental drug, may be used. If a person doesn't respond to any other therapy, drugs that suppress the immune system may be tried.


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