Dr. Abhishek Dudhatra, MBBS, MD (Medicine), DNB (Haematology), Fellowship – BMT (NUH, Singapore), Consultant – Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant at HCG Cancer Hospitals, Ahmedabad
Aplastic anaemia is a rare and potentially life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the body fails to produce enough new blood cells. “Aplastic” refers to the bone marrow’s inability to produce enough new cells, while “anaemia” refers to a deficiency in red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Aplastic Anaemia is of several types, however, the most seen type is Acquired Aplastic Anemia. This disorder can develop at any stage in life, at any age, and has no known cause. There are other types of aplastic anaemia which can be hereditary or caused by exposure to chemicals in the environment.
Symptoms to be mindful of
Unfortunately, there are no symptoms specific to Aplastic Anemia. Usual presenting symptoms are pale skin, weakness, fatigue, and even shortness of breath. In severe cases, aplastic anaemia can result in infection and bleeding, which needs immediate care.
It varies from person to person. In young patients with severe disease a bone marrow transplant may be needed to replace the damaged bone marrow with fully healthy bone marrow. Another option is immunosuppressive therapy, which is usually offered to elderly patients and those who are not fit for transplant.
Additional treatment includes blood transfusions that will help replace the missing blood cells, medication to encourage the existing bone marrow to produce new blood cells and antibiotics to treat infections or bacterial growth.
With proper treatment, a lot of people can live completely healthy and fulfilling lives. Lastly it is important to know that every individual’s illness is not the same, every journey is different. So be self-aware and know your own body.