Dr. Rahul Bhargava
New Delhi, January 18-So, what is Aplastic Anemia?It is a rare but serious condition when your body stops producing enough new blood cells and leaves leaves you fatigued, can develop at any age, is more prone to infections and uncontrolled bleeding, which can become worse over the period of time given depending on how mild or severe it is.
Any pancytopenia patient not responding to vitamin b-12 could be suffering from Apalstic anemia. A dreaded disease, Aplastic anemia is characterised by low heamoglobin levels. Low white blood cells and low platelets. Aplastic anemia can be short-lived, chronic or even fatal.
Aplastic anemia is caused when stem cells in the bone marrow- which produce blood cells — red cells, white cells and platelets- are damaged, after being attacked by your immune system. In such a scase, the bone marrow is either empty (aplastic) or contains few blood cells (hypoplastic).
Other factors that can injure bone marrow and affect blood cell production include radiation and chemotherapy treatments, exposure to toxic chemicals, if you have had certain drugs which are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and some antibiotics, autoimune disorders in which your immune system attacks healthy cells like stem cells in your bone marrow, pregnancy, or any viral infection can also lead to Aplastic anemia. Viruses that could play a potential role in causing Aplastic anemia are hepatitis, Epstein-Barr, cytomegalovirus, parvovirus B19 and HIV.
The symptoms for Alplastic Anemia can begin with fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid or irregular heart rate, pale skin, frequent or prolonged infections, unexplained or easy bruising, nosebleeds and bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding from cuts, skin rash,dizziness, headache, fever.
Treatment for aplastic anemia might include medications, blood transfusions or a stem cell transplant, also known as a bone marrow transplant.
Aplastic anemia is associated with high mortality. We need to do urgent bone marrow biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and can treat with bone marrow transplant or Anti Thymocyte Globulin or Oral cyclosporine and revolade.
One can contact contact us at Institute of Blood Disorder, Fortis, Gurgaon, to know more about the disease.
(The writer is Director-Head, Department of Haematology, Haemato-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Institute of Blood Disorder, Fortis, Gurgaon)