Aplastic Anemia is a disease caused by the inability of the bone marrow to produce enough new blood cells. This condition will cause the number of one or all of the blood cell types to decrease.
Aplastic Anemia is more common in young older persons aged 20 years or elderly. Some early symptoms of aplastic anemia are tired, pale, breathless and dizzy. Patients with aplastic anemia also easily experience infections due to the deficiency of leukocytes (white blood cells).
Aplastic Anemia Causes
Based on the cause, there are two types of aplastic anemia, namely:
Acquired aplastic anemia
This type of aplastic anemia is aplastic anemia that occurs after a person is born (not inherited from parents). This type of aplastic anemia is more common in older persons.
In most cases, aplastic anemia is unknown. However, there is a theory that indicates that this condition is largely caused by an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy organ, which in this case is the bone marrow.
Based on several studies, it is known that aplastic anemia gained after birth is more risky in people who have the following risk factors:
- Viral infections, such as hepatitis B, HIV, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Epstein-Barr virus.
- Certain side effects of treatment, such as chemotherapy for cancer and other medications, such as antibiotics, anticonvulsants, NSAID, and Acetazolamide.
- Exposed to chemical substances or toxins, such as heavy metals, benzene (gasoline), pesticides, and insecticides.
- Often exposed to high-strength radiation or ever undergo radiation therapy.
Congenital aplastic anemia (inherited aplastic anemia)
Congenital aplastic Anemia is caused by genetic abnormalities inherited from parents. This disease is most common in children and adolescents. Sufferers of aplastic anemia are at risk of experiencing certain cancers, such as leukemia.
Risk Factors of aplastic Anemia
Risk factors of aplastic anemia, among others:
- Originated from the Asian region.
- Age 20-25 years.
- Has an immune system disorder.
- Suffer from cancer.
- Undergo radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
- Prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals.
Aplastic Anemia Symptoms
Each type of blood cell has a different function. Leukocytes (white blood cells) play an important role in the immunity of the body, erythrocytes (red blood cells) and hemoglobin plays a role in the distribution of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body tissues, while platelets (bloody pieces) play an important role in the process of blood clotting.
The difference in the role of each of the blood cells causes the emergence of aplastic anemia symptoms. However, in general, some symptoms that arise when a person has aplastic anemia are:
- Tired and weak
- The emergence of bleeding rash in skin
- Repeated infections and prolonged recovery
- Headaches and Nosebleeds
- Easy to sleepy.
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest pain.
- Heart palpitations.
Aplastic anemia may experience the following symptoms (when in a state of the deficit of white blood cells):
- It is easy to sick or experience recurrent infections.
If the platelet count is low, then the body will experience:
- Easy bruising.
- Bleeding, such as nosebleed or gum bleeding.
Diagnosis of Aplastic Anemia
To enforce the diagnosis of aplastic anemia, the doctor will ask some questions and conduct a physical examination. In addition, the doctor will also conduct a supporting examination to confirm the diagnosis. The recommended supporting examination usually includes:
The examination includes complete blood screening and reticulocytes for examining hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet levels.
Bone marrow screening
This examination is done to determine if the bone marrow can produce enough blood cells. The bone marrow screening includes aspiration and biopsy.
Aspiration is done with the sampling of bone marrow fluid using a special needle, and then carried out the examination under the microscope.
While the biopsy is performed, little bone marrow tissue will be taken with a special needle examined under the microscope.
In plastic anemia, the number of blood cells in the spinal cord is lower than normal.