|DECEMBER IS APLASTIC ANEMIA AWARENESS MONTH
|PRESS RELEASES 12/1/2018|
Aplastic anemia occurs when the bone marrow stops making enough blood-forming stem cells. Patients with aplastic anemia typically have low blood cell counts in all three blood lines - red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
The symptoms of aplastic anemia can include increased bleeding, bruising, petechiae, susceptibility to infections, shortness of breath, fatigue, decreased alertness, dizziness and lingering illness. Although aplastic anemia can appear at any age, it is diagnosed more often in children and young adults.
In acquired aplastic anemia, immunosuppressive therapy with anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) plus cyclosporine is the therapy of choice for older patients. It is also used for patients who do not have a matched sibling stem cell donor. Response rates are 70 to 80%. For patients younger than 30 years old who have a matched sibling donor, stem cell transplantation replaces the defective bone marrow with healthy cells. This treatment option provides complete recovery for 80% of these patients.
Ask your hematologist about all treatment options.
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) occurs when the bone marrow and
stem cells malfunction. This results in the production of too many defective blood cells and not enough normal blood cells.
Patients with myelodysplastic syndromes have low blood cell counts in at least one or more of the three blood lines -red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Upon examination, the bone marrow usually is found to be hyperplastic, meaning there are too many poorly functioning blood stem cells in the marrow. A small percentage of MDS patients have hypoplastic bone marrow, meaning there are too few blood stem cells in the marrow, which make the disease look similar to aplastic anemia. Changes in the chromosomes occur in many patients with MDS.
Nearly half of people with MDS have no symptoms at time of diagnosis. When symptoms do occur they can include anemia, weakness, fatigue, headache, bruising, increased bleeding, rash, fevers, mouth sores and lingering illness.
Treatments for MDS may vary considerably. For older patients and those with milder forms of the disease, treatment is often supportive. More aggressive forms of myelodysplastic syndrome may evolve into leukemia.
For more information on Aplastic Anemia and MDS, please visit aamds.org or visit Medical Center Clinic’s Internal Medicine department. For an appointment call 850.474.8385.
Information provided by aamds.org