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Aplastic anemia occurs when your bone marrow doesn’t make enough red and white blood cells, and platelets. A reduced number of red blood cells causes hemoglobin to drop.
Hemoglobin is the part of blood that carries oxygen through the body. A reduced number of white blood cells makes you more prone to infection. And, a reduced number of platelets makes the blood too thin so that it does not clot the way it should.
Aplastic anemia has multiple causes. Sometimes it occurs for no known reason. Other causes are related to a previous illness or disorder. Acquired causes may include:
The following are the most common symptoms of aplastic anemia. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of aplastic anemia may look like other blood disorders or medical problems. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic tests for aplastic anemia may include:
Specific treatment for aplastic anemia will be determined by your health care provider based on:
Aplastic anemia is a serious illness, and treatment usually depends on the underlying cause. For certain causes, recovery can be expected after treatment; however, relapses can occur. To treat the low blood counts, initially treatment is usually supportive and may include:
In certain people, bone marrow transplantation may cure aplastic anemia.
Managing aplastic anemia includes working closely with your health care provider and following your treatment plan. It is important that you tell your health care provider of any symptoms you are having. You are more susceptible to infections, so stay away from those who are sick, avoid large crowds, wash your hands often, avoid undercooked foods, brush your teeth regularly, and get your annual flu shot. Develop a physical fitness plan with your health care provider.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.