What is Aplastic Anemia?

Aplastic anemia is a condition that can have a significantly negative effect on the cells in a human body. Even if the illness is considered to be a rare one, thousands of individuals are still diagnosed every year worldwide. A number of treatment options are available for patients with this disease; however, there are cases when the body does not respond positively to the treatment – these are the cases when the disease can lead to life-threatening situations.

Every human body has platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells traveling through its bloodstream at any given time; all of these cells are responsible for ensuring that the body’s functions are carried out properly. The bone marrow (which is the spongy material located in the center of the bones) is where these cells are produced. The bone marrow is responsible for keeping the blood cells healthy and producing at a rate which the body requires; when a person is diagnosed with this disease, it means that their body is not producing the blood cells in the rate that is needed for the body to keep functioning in a healthy way.

Details of Aplastic Anemia

A lot of people are wondering how is different from other types of blood cancer, such as leukemia. The fact of the matter is that these cancers are all related in some way, with every single one of them attacking the human body’s blood. More serious cases have a way of eventually developing into full-blown leukemia.

When an individual’s blood level does not have adequate amounts of red blood cells, aplastic anemia occurs. These red blood cells are essential in making sure that oxygen is carried through the different parts of the body. Without these cells (and as a result, without the adequate amounts of oxygen carried throughout the body), it is not possible for a person not to feel fatigue and dizziness on a regular basis. A person who is positively diagnosed has bone marrow that has ceased to  the produce adequate amounts of new blood cells; these also includes white blood cells, which are needed for the body to properly fight infection. Any problems in the bone marrow will also have an effect on the platelets, which may result in improper blood clotting or excessive bleeding.

Aplastic Anemia Causes

Studies show that less than 1,000 people are diagnosed with this disease in the United States every year. The exact cause of this affliction still remains a mystery, even though it is not a common disease and is made up of a group of similarly-related conditions. Recent studies show, however, that there is a link between the development and an individual’s exposure to the toxic chemical benzene, a known carcinogen present in cigarettes and in gasoline.

When the bone marrow becomes further damaged by another form of cancer, a secondary  form of the disease occurs. Some of the factors that are believed to be linked in the development of this secondary form are pregnancy, certain prescription drugs and chemotherapy.

Treatment of the Disease

Physicians will choose the treatment option best for the patient based on the severity of the illness and the time when the diagnosis was made. Mild cases of the affliction would involve blood transfusions, bone marrow transplants and specific medications, as these are considered to be the best options available. Experts are continuously doing research on aplastic anemia, in hopes of learning something new to eventually help lessen the number of those being afflicted with the condition.

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