What is Aplastic Anemia?
Aplastic Anemia is a disorder in which a person’s bone marrow fails to produce healthy blood cells, which include red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This results in a decrease in the level of hemoglobin, platelets, and white blood cells. In medical terms, this condition is known as pancytopenia.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Aplastic Anemia?
- Bleeding and easily Bruising
- Gum bleed
- Heavy menstrual bleeding in females
- Hematuria(blood in urine )
- Fever (the sign of infection)
- Also, pale skin due to low levels of hemoglobin
- Frequent infections due to low levels of infection-fighting cells (white blood cells)
- Lethargy (unable to perform daily routine activities)
What are the Diagnostic tests?
- Complete blood count (CBC) : (In complete blood count there will be severely dropped white blood cells, dropped hemoglobin, and very low platelet count.
- Bone Marrow Biopsy: (Bone marrow biopsy is a gold standard test that confirms aplastic anemia and reveals markedly hypocellular marrow).
Moreover, the treatment of Aplastic Anemia includes supportive and curative treatment., and the patient will be treated by a hematology-oncology team/consultant.
- Supportive Treatment: Moreover, supportive treatment includes some immunosuppressive medications and blood and blood product transfusions (blood and blood products usually platelets and packs of Red blood cells will be transfused to avoid complications like bleeding.
- Curative Treatment: Curative treatment includes bone marrow or stem cell transplantation.
- Stem cell transplant: A stem cell transplant is the only curative treatment for severe aplastic anemia by replacing the defective marrow with the healthy bone marrow from a fully HLA-matched sibling.
What are the Causes of Aplastic Anemia?
As far as the exact cause of aplastic anemia is not known. However, the following could be some risk factors.
- Chemical exposure.
- Moreover, Some researchers say exposure to Pesticides and fertilizers may cause it.
- Exposure to unnecessary radiation or chemotherapeutic drugs.
What is the Care of a patient at home?
Proper care of patients at home is very necessary to prevent complications.
Following are some tips to manage patients at home.
- Avoid brushing teeth to prevent gum bleeding instead use a good mouthwash to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Avoid the use of sharp objects like blades, razors, and knives.
- Avoid going to overcrowded places to prevent airborne infections like COVID-19, influenza, and tuberculosis.
- Avoid the use of public toilets to avoid the risk of urinary tract infections.
- Avoid the use of over-the-counter medicines like NSAIDs which may worsen your bleeding. Bleeding is the main side effect of NSAIDs.
What are the Complications of Aplastic Anemia?
- Uncontrolled Bleeding
Uncontrolled bleeding may lead to life-threatening conditions even death.
- Frequent Infections
Infections especially severe fungal and bacterial infections may worsen the patient’s condition. Furthermore, frequent infections lead to frequent hospitalizations.
Stroke: Patients with severely low quantities of platelets are at a higher risk for intracranial bleeding known as stroke.
Growth and development problems: Aplastic anemia can cause growth and developmental problems in children.
Aplastic Anemia is a disease of bone marrow with markedly severe symptoms. Diagnosed through bone marrow biopsy and managed by blood and blood product transfusion. Moreover, the patient will be under the services of a heam–oncology consultant. Curative treatment will be a bone marrow /stem cell transplant with a fully HLA-matched sibling. Home care before and after bone marrow transplant is very necessary for the best outcomes of treatment.