Blood Disorders: Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

The blood is a type of liquid tissue made up of solid and liquid components. The solid parts of the blood are red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The liquid component of the blood is plasma. Although blood disorders typically affect the solid components of the blood, some blood disorders also affect the clear, liquid part of the blood.

Blood disorders are detected through lab exams. The treatments and prognosis for blood diseases will also differ according to the condition and its severity.

Symptoms of Blood Diseases

The most common symptoms of blood disorders include the abnormal level of red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. Decreased red blood cells cause fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. The abnormal spike in red blood cells causes red complexion and headaches.

Decreased white blood cells cause infections and recurrent fever. A spike in white blood cell level leads to thickening of the blood. Decreased platelets cause blood clotting, abnormal bruising, and bleeding. Increased platelet count causes thrombosis or blood clot in the arteries.

Types of Blood Disorders and Treatments

Blood Diseases Affecting Red Blood Cells

The red blood cells are microscopic cells that transport oxygen into the whole body.  These cells also deliver nutrients to the tissues. Abnormalities in red blood cell count could cause progressive weakness, fatigue, and tissue degeneration. In some cases, organ diseases trigger red blood cell diseases.

The most common types of blood disease that affects the red blood cells are anemia, iron-deficiency anemia, anemia caused by chronic diseases, pernicious anemia, aplastic anemia and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, malaria and Polycythemia vera are also blood diseases that affect the red blood cells. Treatment for blood diseases that affect the red blood cells will depend on the condition. For example, anemia caused by nutrient deficiency is treated through mineral supplements.

Blood Disorders Affecting White Blood Cells

Blood diseases that affect white blood cells are typically types of blood cancers. These blood cancers include lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, and Myelodysplastic syndrome. These diseases are treated with stem cell transplant, bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and blood transfusion.

Blood Disorders that Affect the Platelets

Blood diseases that affect the platelets include thrombocytopenia, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, heparin -induced thrombocytopenia, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and essential thrombocytosis. Most diseases that affect the platelets are extremely rare. Generally, diseases that affect the platelets cause abnormal bleeding, red spots, abnormal bruising, and low platelet count.

Blood Disorders Affecting Blood Plasma

Finally, blood diseases that affect the plasma include sepsis, hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, hypercoagulable state, deep venous thrombosis and disseminated intravascular coagulation. Just like blood diseases that affect the platelets, blood disorders that affect the plasma are often rare. Symptoms for diseases that affect the platelets include abnormal blood clotting, excessive bleeding, and blood clots in the arteries.

How to Avoid Blood Diseases

If the disease is caused by nutrient deficiency, the condition can be treated with vitamin and mineral supplements. However, if the condition is caused by abnormalities within the blood, approach that is more aggressive is needed. These aggressive methods include cancer treatments and bone marrow transplant.