What is a Blood Cell Disorder?
Blood disorder is a condition when a person has problems with the Red Blood Cells (RBCs), White Blood Cells (WBCs) or circulating platelets inside body. There are basically three types of cell forms inside the body. Red blood cells help in transportation of oxygen inside your body. White Blood cells are used to fight foreign particles, infections and is important for body’s immunity, while platelets helps in clotting of blood. Disorders of any of this type of blood cell can affect health and increase the risk of further health complications. It is important to understand the types of blood cell disorders, their symptoms and treatment options.
Causes of Blood Cell Disorders
Blood cell disorders can be caused due to various diseases. It can be an inherited problem or due to non-inherited causes. For example- a problem related to RBC can occur due to an iron deficiency. It can also be caused due to a genetic problem such as polycythemia Vera. On the other hand, diseases like lupus can result into destruction of blood platelets inside body and can also hamper bleeding. Some of the health conditions related to bone marrow can also affect the production of WBC, thereby reducing the body’s ability to fight disease.
Types of Blood Cell Disorders & its Symptoms
Blood cell disorders can have significant impact on health. Problems related to blood disorder can be identified by following manner.
- RBC Disorders – One of the commonest health problems related to RBC disorders is anemia. It is mainly caused due to low hemoglobin levels, which is responsible for proper oxygenation in the body. Anemic cells usually form a sickled shape as a result of mutation and results into blocking of blood flow. It could be an inherited disease or caused due to deficiency of iron. Symptoms of red blood cell disorders and anemia include weakness, fatigue, breathlessness and fainting due to reduced hemoglobin levels.
- Platelet Disorders – Problems related to blood platelets can include either reduced or increased levels of platelets. Both situations are harmful and can affect the health as the function of formation of clots is disturbed. One of the major symptoms of the platelet disorder is the inability to form a clot, non-healing of wounds, bleeding issues or formation of clot in blood vessels, thus increasing the risk of blocking of arteries or heart stroke.
- Pediatric White Blood Cell Disorders – Bone marrow is responsible for production of WBC and if the count is not enough, it can make the immune system weak and unable to fight diseases. It can result into repeated infections like measles or cough. Excessively greater counts of white blood cells can also be harmful and can result into various symptoms, which may be related to serious conditions.
Blood cell disorders are of various types and so are the risks associated with it. In case you are having low blood cell count, it can lead into serious immune-related disorders or serious infections. A family history related to blood cell disorder can even cause higher risk of getting serious health problems. In some of the cases, a person has to be hospitalized if the blood cell count decreases below the threshold level.
How is Blood Cell Disorder Treated?
There are various types of tests designed to check blood cell disorders and RBC, WBC and platelet count. One of the major tests is known as Complete Blood Count (CBC) check, which is a blood test used to check the count and other details of the three types of cells. In case of any problems found in CBC check, the bone marrow biopsy may be ordered, which can check abnormalities that could even lead of removal of small part of bone marrow for performing tests.
Proper treatment and medication can help treat problems related to Blood cell disorders. With appropriate medical advice, a treatment plan depending on the degree of problem, CBC count, illness, age and overall health status is prescribed. Doctors may prescribe different treatment options that may help in correcting blood cell disorders.
- Medication – One of the major type of medications to treat platelet disorders is known as Nplate (romiplostim), which is used to treat problems related to blood clotting. For WBC related issues, doctors may prescribe antibiotics that can help in fighting infections and also help in WBC recovery.
- Use of Diet Supplements – Most of the problems related to blood cell disorders can be caused due to deficiency of vitamins and iron. For such conditions, doctors may recommend dietary supplements such as Iron, Vitamin B12, B9 which can be used to fight infections or deficiencies in body. One of the major supplements is required is vitamin B9 (known as Folate) and B12 known as Cobalamin.
- Surgeries – In adverse conditions related to low count of WBCs or problems identified during bone marrow testing, bone marrow replacements may be required to be done. This may involve transfer of certain stem cells from the donor that may help in improving the status of bone marrow and lead to production of WBCs. During such procedures, it is imperative that the bone marrow of the donor and the patient must match and even the blood type.
- Blood transfusion – Another way to improve health of RBCs and the platelet count is transfer of blood from a healthy donor to patient. It can be used in situations when the count has decreased significantly.
There are various types of blood cell disorders experienced due to genetic problems or because of deficiency of certain vitamins, minerals or iron in body. The degree of disorder varies from person to person. Some of the problems can be treated with the help of proper medications while others may involve surgeries or transfusion. The key is to diagnose the problem so that blood cell disorders can be detected early and treatment of blood cell disorders can be planned appropriately.
- American Society of Hematology. (2021). Blood diseases. https://www.hematology.org/Patients/Blood-Disorders
- MedlinePlus. (2021). Blood disorders. https://medlineplus.gov/blooddisorders.html
- University of Rochester Medical Center. (2021). Blood disorders. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=85&contentid=p00027