Blood Diseases

Blood Diseases

Blood Diseases

Blood Diseases

What are blood cell disorders?

A blood cell disorder is a condition in which there’s a problem with your red blood cells, white blood cells, or the smaller circulating cells called platelets, which are critical for clot formation. All three cell types form in the bone marrow, which is the soft tissue inside your bones. Red blood cells transport oxygen to your body’s organs and tissues. White blood cells help your body fight infections. Platelets help your blood to clot. Blood cell disorders impair the formation and function of one or more of these types of blood cells.

What are the symptoms of blood cell disorders?

Symptoms will vary depending on the type of blood cell disorder. Common symptoms of red blood cell disorders are:

  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • trouble concentrating from lack of oxygenated blood in the brain
  • muscle weakness
  • a fast heartbeatCommon symptoms of white blood cell disorders are:
  • chronic infections
  • fatigue
  • unexplained weight loss
  • malaise, or a general feeling of being unwell
    Common symptoms of platelet disorders are:
  • cuts or sores that don’t heal or are slow to heal
  • blood that doesn’t clot after an injury or cut
  • skin that bruises easily
  • unexplained nosebleeds or bleeding from the gums
    There are many types of blood cell disorders that can greatly affect your overall health.

    Red blood cell disorders

Red blood cell disorders affect the body’s red blood cells. These are cells in your blood that carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. There are a variety of these disorders, which can affect both children and adults.


Anemia is one type of red blood cell disorder. A lack of the mineral iron in your blood commonly causes this disorder. Your body needs iron to produce the protein hemoglobin, which helps your red blood cells (RBCs) carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. There are many types of anemia.

  • Iron deficiency anemia: Iron deficiency anemia occurs when your body does not have enough iron. You may feel tired and short of breath because your RBCs are not carrying enough oxygen to your lungs. Iron supplementation usually cures this type of anemia.
  • Pernicious anemia: Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune condition in which your body is unable to absorb sufficient amounts of vitamin B-12. This results in a low number of RBCs. It is called “pernicious,” meaning dangerous, because it used to be untreatable and often fatal. Now, B-12 injections usually cure this type of anemia.
  • Aplastic anemia: Aplastic anemia is a rare but serious condition in which your bone marrow stops making enough new blood cells. It can occur suddenly or slowly, and at any age. It can leave you feeling tired and unable to fight off infections or uncontrolled bleeding.
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AHA): Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AHA) causes your immune system to destroy your red blood cells faster than your body can replace them. This results in you having too few RBCs.
  • Sickle cell anemia: Sickle cell anemia (SCA) is a type of anemia that draws its name from the unusual sickle shape of the affected red blood cells. Due to a genetic mutation, the red blood cells of people with sickle cell anemia contain abnormal hemoglobin molecules, which leave them rigid and curved. The sickle-shaped red blood cells can’t carry as much oxygen to your tissues as normal red blood cells can. They may also become stuck in your blood vessels, blocking blood flow to your organs.


Thalassemia is a group of inherited blood disorders. These disorders are caused by genetic mutations that prevent the normal production of hemoglobin. When red blood cells do not have enough hemoglobin, oxygen doesn’t get to all parts of the body. Organs then do not function properly. These disorders can result in:

  • bone deformities
  • enlarged spleen
  • heart problems
  • growth and developmental delays in children

Polycythemia vera

Polycythemia is a blood cancer caused by a gene mutation. If you have polycythemia, your bone marrow makes too many red blood cells. This causes your blood to thicken and flow more slowly, putting you at risk for blood clots that can cause heart attacks or strokes. There is no known cure. Treatment involves phlebotomy, or removing blood from your veins, and medication.

White blood cell disorders

White blood cells (leukocytes) help defend the body against infection and foreign substances. White blood cell disorders can affect your body’s immune response and your body’s ability to fight off infection. These disorders can affect both adults and children.


Lymphoma is a blood cancer that occurs in the body’s lymphatic system. Your white blood cells change and grow out of control. Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are the two major types of lymphoma.


Leukemia is blood cancer in which malignant white blood cells multiply inside your body’s bone marrow. Leukemia may be either acute or chronic. Chronic leukemia advances more slowly.

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a condition affecting the white blood cells in your bone marrow. The body produces too many immature cells, called blasts. The blasts multiply and crowd out the mature and healthy cells. Myelodysplastic syndrome may progress either slowly or quite fast. It sometimes leads to leukemia.

Platelet disorders

Blood platelets are the first responders when you have a cut or other injury. They gather at the site of the injury, creating a temporary plug to stop blood loss. If you have a platelet disorder, your blood has one of three abnormalities:

  • Not enough platelets. Having too few platelets is quite dangerous because even a small injury can cause serious blood loss.
  • Too many platelets. If you have too many platelets in your blood, blood clots can form and block a major artery, causing a stroke or heart attack.
  • Platelets that don’t clot correctly. Sometimes, deformed platelets can’t stick to other blood cells or the walls of your blood vessels, and so can’t clot properly. This can also lead to a dangerous loss of blood.
    Platelet disorders are primarily genetic, meaning they are inherited. Some of these disorders include:

Von Willebrand disease

Von Willebrand disease is the most common inherited bleeding disorder. It is caused by a deficiency of a protein that helps your blood clot, called von Willebrand factor (VWF).


Hemophilia is probably the best-known blood clotting disorder. It occurs almost always in males. The most serious complication of hemophilia is excessive and prolonged bleeding. This bleeding can be either inside or outside your body. The bleeding can start for no apparent reason. Treatment involves a hormone called desmopressin for mild type A, which can promote release of more of the reduced clotting factor, and infusions of blood or plasma for types B and C.

Primary thrombocythemia

Primary thrombocythemia is a rare disorder that can lead to increased blood clotting. This puts you at higher risk for stroke or heart attack. The disorder occurs when your bone marrow produces too many platelets.

Acquired platelet function disorders

Certain drugs and medical conditions can also affect the functioning of platelets. Be sure to coordinate all your medications with your doctor, even over-the-counter ones you choose yourself. The Canadian Hemophilia Association (CHA) warns that the following common drugs may affect platelets, especially if taken long-term.

  • aspirin
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs)
  • some antibiotics
  • heart drugs
  • blood thinners
  • antidepressants
  • anesthetics
  • antihistamines

Plasma cell disorders

There are a large variety of disorders that affect the plasma cells, the type of white blood cells in your body that make antibodies. These cells are very important to your body’s ability to ward off infection and disease.

Plasma cell myeloma

Plasma cell myeloma is a rare blood cancer that develops in the plasma cells in the bone marrow. Malignant plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and form tumors called plasmacytomas, generally in bones such as the spine, hips, or ribs. The abnormal plasma cells produce abnormal antibodies called monoclonal (M) proteins. These proteins build up in the bone marrow, crowding out the healthy proteins. This can lead to thickened blood and kidney damage. The cause of plasma cell myeloma is unknown.

How are blood cell disorders diagnosed?

Your doctor may order several tests, including a complete blood count (CBC) to see how many of each type of blood cell you have. Your doctor may also order a bone marrow biopsy to see if there are any abnormal cells developing in your marrow. This will involve removing a small amount of bone marrow for testing.

What are the treatment options for blood cell disorders?

Your treatment plan depends on the cause of your illness, your age, and your overall health status. Your doctor may use a combination of treatments to help correct your blood cell disorder.


Some pharmacotherapy options include medications such as Nplate (romiplostim) to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more platelets in a platelet disorder. For white blood cell disorders, antibiotics can help fight infections. Dietary supplements such as iron and vitamin B-9 or B-12 can treat anemia due to deficiencies. Vitamin B-9 is also called folate, and vitamin B-12 is also known as cobalamin.


Bone marrow transplants may repair or replace damaged marrow. These involve transferring stem cells, usually from a donor, to your body to help your bone marrow begin producing normal blood cells. A blood transfusion is another option to help you replace lost or damaged blood cells. During a blood transfusion, you receive an infusion of healthy blood from a donor.

Both procedures require specific criteria to succeed. Bone marrow donors must match or be as close as possible to your genetic profile. Blood transfusions require a donor with a compatible blood type.

What is the long-term outlook?

The variety of blood cell disorders means that your experience of living with one of these conditions may vary greatly from someone else. Early diagnosis and treatment are the best ways to ensure that you live a healthy and full life with a blood cell disorder.

Different side effects of treatments vary depending on the person. Research your options, and speak with your doctor to find the right treatment for you.

Finding a support group or counselor to help you deal with any emotional stress about having a blood cell disorder is also helpful.

Source: Click This Limk

What is Blood?

Blood is a constantly circulating fluid providing the body with nutrition, oxygen, and waste removal. Blood is mostly liquid, with numerous cells and proteins suspended in it, making blood "thicker" than pure water. The average person has about 5 liters (more than a gallon) of blood.

About Blood Donation

A blood donation occurs when a person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for transfusions and/or made into biopharmaceutical medications by a process called fractionation (separation of whole-blood components). Donation may be of whole blood (WB), or of specific components directly (the latter called apheresis). Blood banks often participate in the collection process as well as the procedures that follow it.

More Facts

A liquid called plasma makes up about half of the content of blood. Plasma contains proteins that help blood to clot, transport substances through the blood, and perform other functions. Blood plasma also contains glucose and other dissolved nutrients.

About half of blood volume is composed of blood cells:

• Red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues
• White blood cells, which fight infections
• Platelets, smaller cells that help blood to clot

Blood is conducted through blood vessels (arteries and veins). Blood is prevented from clotting in the blood vessels by their smoothness, and the finely tuned balance of clotting factors.

Blood Conditions

Hemorrhage (bleeding): Blood leaking out of blood vessels may be obvious, as from a wound penetrating the skin. Internal bleeding (such as into the intestines, or after a car accident) may not be immediately apparent.

Hematoma: A collection of blood inside the body tissues. Internal bleeding often causes a hematoma.

Leukemia: A form of blood cancer, in which white blood cells multiply abnormally and circulate through the blood. The abnormal white blood cells make getting sick from infections easier than normal.

Multiple myeloma: A form of blood cancer of plasma cells similar to leukemia. Anemia, kidney failure and high blood calcium levels are common in multiple myeloma.

Lymphoma: A form of blood cancer, in which white blood cells multiply abnormally inside lymph nodes and other tissues. The enlarging tissues, and disruption of blood's functions, can eventually cause organ failure.

Anemia: An abnormally low number of red blood cells in the blood. Fatigue and breathlessness can result, although anemia often causes no noticeable symptoms.

Hemolytic anemia: Anemia caused by rapid bursting of large numbers of red blood cells (hemolysis). An immune system malfunction is one cause.

Hemochromatosis: A disorder causing excessive levels of iron in the blood. The iron deposits in the liver, pancreas and other organs, causing liver problems and diabetes.

Sickle cell disease: A genetic condition in which red blood cells periodically lose their proper shape (appearing like sickles, rather than discs). The deformed blood cells deposit in tissues, causing pain and organ damage.

Bacteremia: Bacterial infection of the blood. Blood infections are serious, and often require hospitalization and continuous antibiotic infusion into the veins.

Malaria: Infection of red blood cells by Plasmodium, a parasite transmitted by mosquitos. Malaria causes episodic fevers, chills, and potentially organ damage.

Thrombocytopenia: Abnormally low numbers of platelets in the blood. Severe thrombocytopenia may lead to bleeding.

Leukopenia: Abnormally low numbers of white blood cells in the blood. Leukopenia can result in difficulty fighting infections.

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC): An uncontrolled process of simultaneous bleeding and clotting in very small blood vessels. DIC usually results from severe infections or cancer.

Hemophilia: An inherited (genetic) deficiency of certain blood clotting proteins. Frequent or uncontrolled bleeding can result from hemophilia.

Hypercoaguable state: Numerous conditions can result in the blood being prone to clotting. A heart attack, stroke, or blood clots in the legs or lungs can result.

Polycythemia: Abnormally high numbers of red blood cells in the blood. Polycythemia can result from low blood oxygen levels, or may occur as a cancer-like condition.

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT): A blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the leg. DVTs are dangerous because they may become dislodged and travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE).

Myocardial infarction (MI): Commonly called a heart attack, a myocardial infarction occurs when a sudden blood clot develops in one of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart.

Source: WebMD

Today in the developed world, most blood donors are unpaid volunteers who donate blood for a community supply. In some countries, established supplies are limited and donors usually give blood when family or friends need a transfusion (directed donation). Many donors donate as an act of charity, but in countries that allow paid donation some donors are paid, and in some cases there are incentives other than money such as paid time off from work. Donors can also have blood drawn for their own future use (autologous donation). Donating is relatively safe, but some donors have bruising where the needle is inserted or may feel faint.

Potential donors are evaluated for anything that might make their blood unsafe to use. The screening includes testing for diseases that can be transmitted by a blood transfusion, including HIV and viral hepatitis. The donor must also answer questions about medical history and take a short physical examination to make sure the donation is not hazardous to his or her health. How often a donor can donate varies from days to months based on what component they donate and the laws of the country where the donation takes place. For example, in the United States, donors must wait eight weeks (56 days) between whole blood donations but only seven days between plateletpheresis donations and twice per seven-day period in plasmapheresis.

The amount of blood drawn and the methods vary. The collection can be done manually or with automated equipment that takes only specific components of the blood. Most of the components of blood used for transfusions have a short shelf life, and maintaining a constant supply is a persistent problem. This has led to some increased interest in autotransfusion, whereby a patient's blood is salvaged during surgery for continuous reinfusion—or alternatively, is "self-donated" prior to when it will be needed. (Generally, the notion of "donation" does not refer to giving to one's self, though in this context it has become somewhat acceptably idiomatic.)

Who can give blood

Most people can give blood. You can give blood if you:

  • are fit and healthy
  • weigh between 7 stone 12 lbs and 25 stone, or 50kg and 160kg
  • are aged between 17 and 66 (or 70 if you have given blood before)
  • are over 70 and have given blood in the last two years

How often can I give blood?

Men can give blood every 12 weeks and women can give blood every 16 weeks. Find out more about what happens on the day of your donation.

Check you are able to give blood

You can check some of the most common eligibility questions we receive from blood donors.

You can register here as a blood donor.

The common reasons donors should check if they can give blood are:

  • if you are receiving medical or hospital treatment
  • if you are taking medication
  • during and after pregnancy
  • if you feel ill
  • if you have cancer
  • after receiving blood, blood products or organs.

Women under 20 - check if you can give blood.