Aplastic anemia occurs when your bone marrow doesn’t make enough red and white blood cells, and platelets. Having fewer red blood cells causes hemoglobin to drop.
Hemoglobin is the part of blood that carries oxygen through your body. Having fewer white blood cells makes you more likely to get an infection. And having fewer platelets makes the blood too thin. This means your blood can’t clot the way it should.
Aplastic anemia has many causes. Sometimes it occurs for no known reason. Other causes are linked to a previous illness or disorder. Acquired causes may include:
Aplastic anemia can occur at any age. But it is more common among teens, young adults, and older adults. Your risk increases if you:
Each person’s symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include:
These symptoms may look like other blood disorders or health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will take your medical history and give you a physical exam. You may also have tests such as:
Your healthcare provider will create a care plan based on:
Aplastic anemia is a serious illness. Treatment usually depends on the underlying cause. For certain causes, you may recover after treatment. But the condition can come back. To treat the low blood counts, early treatment may include:
In certain people, a bone marrow transplant may cure aplastic anemia.
Managing aplastic anemia includes working closely with your healthcare provider and following your treatment plan. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any symptoms you are having. You are more at risk of infections so you should:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637 | 773-702-1000
Appointments: Call UCM Connect at 1-888-824-0200