Damage to bone marrow cells that produce blood cells cause aplastic anemia. Bone marrow damage may be caused by inherited problems or acquired conditions.
Defects in genes cause inherited bone marrow damage. Fanconi-anemia, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, dyskeratosis congenita, and Diamond-Blackfan anemia are certain inherited conditions that lead to aplastic anemia.
Bone marrow biopsy is the confirmatory diagnostic test. In this procedure, a small needle is inserted into a large bone to take a small sample of bone marrow.
Analysis of blood cells helps to rule out chances of other diseases that has similar symptoms. Additional tests are recommended based on the cause of aplastic anemia.
Treatment of aplastic anemia is based on severity of symptoms. Those with mild symptoms may not need any specific treatments. Moderate form is treated with blood transfusions and medications. Bone marrow transplantation is recommended in serious form of aplastic anemia.
Blood transfusion helps to control symptoms of anemia and to control bleeding. Red blood cell transfusion relieves symptoms of anemia like fatigue. Transfusion of platelets is suggested to control bleeding. Transfusion may lead to complications like iron overload and immune reaction.
Stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant is recommended for people with severe aplastic anemia. In this procedure, affected bone marrow is treated with radiation or chemotherapy. Healthy stem cells from a matching donor is then injected into the blood stream of the patient. These cells migrate to the bone marrow cells and start producing healthy blood cells. To prevent rejection of the stem cells from the donor, medications are used. Rejection of stem cells from the donor may lead to complications.
Immunosuppressant medications like cyclosporine and anti-thymocyte globulin are used to treat aplastic anemia caused by autoimmune disorders. These medications suppress the functioning of immune system that affects bone marrow. The bone marrow starts producing healthy blood cells after a period of time. Corticosteroids are also given along with immunosuppressants.
Bone marrow-stimulating drugs like colony-stimulating factors trigger the production of new blood cells, and are suggested in the treatment of aplastic anemia. Sargramostim, filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, and epoetin alfa are used as bone marrow-stimulating medications.
Susceptibility to infections is one of the most common symptoms of aplastic anemia. This is controlled by antibiotics and antiviral which help to alleviate infections.
Avoiding the risk factors of aplastic anemia like exposure to toxins helps to prevent the risk of developing aplastic anemia.
There are no other standard preventive measures for this blood disorder.
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