Blood Disorders

Blood Disorders

A blood  disorder  is a disorder in one or several parts of the blood that affects its amount and function. This condition can be acute or chronic .

Blood contains liquid and solid substances. More than half of the liquid part of blood is called  blood plasma . While the solid part of the blood is the blood cells consisting of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets (platelets).

Blood cells have different functions. Here is the explanation:

  • Red blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues of the body
  • White blood cells  fight infection
  • Thrombocytes  help the blood clotting process
  • Blood plasma functions to produce antibodies in the body

Every blood abnormality will have an impact on the function of the blood part.

Causes of Blood Disorders

Blood disorders depend on the part of the blood that is disturbed and the underlying cause. Here are some blood disorders that affect red blood cells:

1. Anemia

Anemia  occurs if the level of red blood cells is very low, either due to excessive bleeding,  iron deficiency , or  vitamin B12 deficiency . In severe enough anemia, the sufferer will look pale, easily tired, and often short of breath.

2. Aplastic anemia

This condition occurs when the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells, one of which is red blood cells. The cause of aplastic anemia  is not yet known, but it is thought to be triggered by viral infections, autoimmune diseases, side effects of drug use, chemotherapy, and even pregnancy.

3. Hemolytic autoimmune anemia

In autoimmune hemolytic anemia, the body's immune system becomes overactive and destroys red blood cells, causing anemia. This condition is caused by  an autoimmune disorder , which is a condition when the body's immune system attacks itself.

4. Sickle cell anemia

This condition causes red blood cells to become sticky and stiff, thus inhibiting blood flow. Sickle cell anemia  is a genetic disease. Sufferers of this condition can experience organ damage and unbearable pain.

5. Polycythemia

Polycythemia occurs when the blood becomes too thick due to the bone marrow producing too many red blood cells. This condition can increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack.

In addition to interfering with red blood cells, there are several types of blood abnormalities that affect white blood cells, including:

1. Leukemia

Leukemia is a type of blood cancer in which white blood cells become malignant and are produced excessively in the bone marrow. The exact cause of this condition is not yet known.

2. Multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma  is a blood cancer that occurs when white blood cells become malignant. In this condition, white blood cells will be produced multiple times and release abnormal proteins that can damage organs.

3. Myelodysplasia syndrome

Myelodysplasia syndrome  is a blood disorder that affects the bone marrow. This condition occurs as a result of the bone marrow not being able to produce healthy blood cells.

4. Lymphoma

Lymphoma  is a blood cancer that develops in the lymph nodes. White blood cells in people affected by lymphoma will become malignant, spread abnormally, and multiply uncontrollably.

Not only affecting red blood cells and white blood cells. Blood disorders can also occur in platelets. Below are the types of blood abnormalities in platelets and the blood clotting process:

1. Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura  (ITP)  is an autoimmune disorder that decreases the number of platelets or platelet cells in the blood. ITP sufferers will easily bruise or experience excessive bleeding due to low platelet counts. The exact cause of this autoimmune disorder is not yet known.

2. von Willebrand's disease

Von Willebrand 's disease  is a blood clotting disorder caused by a lack of the von Willebrand protein needed in the blood clotting process.

When the amount of the protein is low, the platelets that are in charge of stopping bleeding cannot work properly, causing prolonged bleeding.

3. Hemophilia

Hemophilia  is a blood clotting disorder caused by genetic abnormalities. This condition results in a low amount of protein called blood clotting factor. The bleeding can occur suddenly inside or outside the body.

4. Essential thrombocythemia

Essential thrombocythemia  occurs when there are too many platelets produced by the bone marrow. As a result, blood clotting in the body increases until it clots. This condition can increase the risk of heart attack  and stroke.

5. Antiphospholipid syndrome

Antiphospholipid syndrome  is a disorder of the immune system that can increase the risk of blood clotting. In this condition, the immune system produces abnormal antibodies called antiphospholipid antibodies. The antibodies attack the proteins in the fat and cause the blood to clot more easily.

Symptoms of Blood Disorders

The symptoms that appear as a result of blood disorders vary, depending on the underlying cause. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Easy to bruise
  • Bleeding gums
  • Nosebleed
  • Get tired quickly
  • Recurrent fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Heart pounding
  • Shortness of breath

When should you go to the doctor?

Immediately check with a  doctor  if you experience symptoms of blood abnormalities. Some blood abnormalities occur for a long time and can recur. Routine check-ups with the doctor must be done in order to prevent the condition from recurring or to prevent complications.

If complications or more serious symptoms appear, such as the appearance of symptoms of bleeding that does not stop, shortness of breath, or chest pain, immediately  go to the IGD  of the hospital to receive medical treatment as soon as possible.

Diagnosis of Blood Disorders

The doctor will begin the diagnosis by asking about the symptoms that appear, as well as checking the health history of the patient and his family. After that, the diagnosis will continue with a physical examination, which includes:

  • Examination of the skin and mucous membranes for bruising, red or purple spots, rashes, and pale skin color
  • Examination of the neck, armpits, and groin if there is  swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Joint examination if swelling is visible
  • Abdominal examination to detect enlargement of the liver and  spleen
  • Stool examination to determine the presence of blood in the stool

If necessary, the doctor will also perform supporting examinations to support the diagnosis, including:

Blood test

A complete blood  test or  a complete hematology test  is done to find out the amount of each part of the blood. This test can be done quickly using a machine. To support the results, manual count inspection with a microscope can also be done.

Bone marrow aspiration

Bone marrow aspiration aims to see the condition of the bone marrow or 'blood factory'. This examination is done by taking blood and a small part of the bone marrow tissue to be examined in the laboratory.

Treatment of Blood Disorders

The treatment of blood disorders will be adapted to the cause. Here are some types of treatment that can be done by a doctor:

  • Blood transfusion when the patient is anemic, or when there is a deficiency in one or all of the blood components
  • Chemotherapy in patients suffering from blood cancer, such as  leukemia  or lymphoma
  • Administration of corticosteroids or  immunosuppressants  in patients with blood disorders due  to autoimmune diseases
  • Provision of iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid supplements for anemic patients due to vitamin and mineral deficiency

Meanwhile, there is no specific treatment to overcome blood disorders caused by genetic factors, such as hemophilia. However, doctors can provide treatment to prevent complications.

Complications of Blood Disorders

Complications that often occur due to blood disorders are bleeding. This bleeding can occur in  the digestive tract , brain, or joints. In female patients, complications of this disease can be in the form  of heavy menstrual  bleeding or bleeding outside of menstruation.

Other complications of blood disorders that can occur include:

  • Growth disorders   in children
  • Lack of blood (anemia)
  • Severe infection
  • Spread of cancer cells to other organs ( metastasis )

Prevention of Blood Disorders

Some efforts that can be made to prevent blood abnormalities are:

  • Consume complete and balanced nutritious food 
  • Wear  personal protective equipment  when working in an environment that is at risk of being exposed to pollution, chemicals, and radiation
  • Perform routine medical check-ups
  • Perform premarital examinations and  genetic screening  before planning a pregnancy
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