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Benign Blood Conditions

Blood cell disorders are conditions that affect any of your blood cells – these are your red and white blood cells, and even your platelets. All of these cells are formed in your bone marrow. While some disorders disrupt the function of one of these cells, they may also impair multiple blood cells and their given function.
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Anaemia
Anaemia is a blood cell disorder that affects the function of your red blood cells. Two common types of anaemia are iron deficiency anaemia and folate deficiency anaemia. Both of these disorders are most commonly caused by the lack of either iron or folate in your blood. Your body requires iron to produce haemoglobin which is responsible for taking the oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body and folate to produce red blood cells.
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Treatment of these types of anaemia is typically in the form of iron and folate supplements. Symptoms include feeling breathless and fatigue as your body is not able to carry sufficient oxygen throughout your body.
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Inherited red cell disorders are disorders that are passed down genetically. Two common types of inherited red cell disorders are sickle cell disease and thalassemia.
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A genetic mutation causes thalassemia, and these mutations hinder the normal production of haemoglobin in the body. As mentioned, without sufficient haemoglobin, oxygen is unable to be transported to the rest of the body. Without enough oxygen, your organs will not be able to function well. This can result in conditions such as an enlarged spleen, heart issues, bone deformities, and both developmental and growth delays in children.
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Treatment for thalassemia is generally blood transfusions and folic supplements. A stem cell transplant may also be recommended in some severe forms of thalassemia.
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Sickle cell disease refers to a group of red blood cell disorders that are inherited. Healthy red blood cells are rounded and disk-shaped. If someone has sickle cell disease, their red blood cells are C-shaped, hard, and sticky. They are unable to carry oxygen properly and can often clog the blood flow. This can result in strokes, acute chest syndrome, and infections. Treatment for sickle cell disease varies and depends highly on the symptoms of the patient.
.

Haemochromatosis is another inherited blood disorder. In haemochromatosis, iron levels in the body build up slowly – this is also known as iron overload. This can damage various organs and joints in the body.
.

While there is no cure for haemochromatosis, there are treatments available to help manage the condition. These include procedures to remove some of your blood (venesection) and drugs to reduce the iron in your body (chelation therapy).
.

Additionally, our doctor may advise that you alter your diet to avoid foods supplemented with iron and drinking alcohol.
.

Polycythaemia is a condition where there is a high concentration of red blood cells in the blood. This causes the blood to become thick and viscous which means it is less able to travel around the body. Symptoms of polycythaemia including headaches, blurred vision, red skin are caused by the sluggish blood flow. Polycythaemia can cause blood clots such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE) and can be life threatening.
.

Polycythaemia can be diagnosed on blood tests by looking at the number of red blood cells in your blood (haemoglobin) and the concentration of red blood cells (haematocrit). Genetic tests for the JAK2 gene may also be done as mutations in this gene can cause a condition known as polycythaemia vera (PV).
.

Treatment for polycythaemia aims to prevent symptoms and complications. These include venesection which involves removing about 0.5 litres of blood from the body similar to the procedure used during blood donation. This is the fastest way to reduce the number of red blood cells in the body. Medication may also be given such as hydroxycarbamide or interferon.
.

Your white blood cells play a vital role in your immune system. You have five main types of white blood cells; they are neutrophils, lymphocytes, eosinophils, monocytes, and basophils. Some white blood cell disorders involve all the different types of white blood cells in the blood, while other disorders only involve one or two specific types. The most commonly affected white cells are neutrophils and lymphocytes.
.

Doctors can check your white blood cell counts through a blood test. If your white blood cell counts are abnormal, either high or low, they could be an indicator of various blood disorders.
.

Some symptoms of an abnormal white blood cell count generally are fever, chills, headaches, and body aches. These symptoms are caused by the underlying condition that is causing the abnormal blood cell count.
.

An abnormal blood cell count could be related to several things, such as:

  • HIV or Autoimmune Disorders
  • Lymphoma
  • Lupus
  • Severe Infections
  • Liver or Spleen Diseases
  • Bone Marrow Disorders
  • Bone Marrow Damage
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Certain Drugs
  • Stress
  • Inflammatory Conditions
  • Tissue Damage
  • Exercise
  • Allergies
  • Pregnancy
  • Asthma
  • Leukaemia

.

Platelet Disorders
Your platelets are responsible for the prevention of excessive bleeding should you be injured or suffer from a cut. Platelet disorders can occur when there are not enough platelets, too many platelets or when the platelets do not clot properly.
..

Too few platelets such as in ITP can mean that even a superficial injury results in exceeding bleeding. Conversely, too many platelets can result in blood clots, pulmonary embolism, deep venous thrombosis or blockages in major arteries that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
.

When platelets do not clot properly, this can lead to excessive blood loss and conditions such as haemophilia. Haemophilia is one of the most common blood clotting disorders. It is typically found in men, and can result in internal or external bleeding.
.

Another disorder where platelets cannot clot well is Von Willebrand disease. This disorder occurs because the body lacks von Willebrand factor (VWF) which is required for platelets to stick together and form clots. The majority of cases are relatively mild, and people may only need treatment if they are injured or require surgery.
.

.

Disclaimer:
The information on the Centre For Clinical Haematology website is intended for educational use.  It should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health professional.

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Contact

Consultation Hours

Monday to Friday : 8.30am – 5.30pm
Saturday : 8.30am – 12.30pm
Closed on Sunday & Public Holidays

 

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Contact Us

If you have any questions about your condition or would like to make an appointment, simply fill up the form and we'll contact you as soon as we can

© Centre for Clinical Haematology | 2021

Print PDF

Benign Blood Conditions

Blood cell disorders are conditions that affect any of your blood cells – these are your red and white blood cells, and even your platelets. All of these cells are formed in your bone marrow. While some disorders disrupt the function of one of these cells, they may also impair multiple blood cells and their given function.
.

.

Anaemia
Anaemia is a blood cell disorder that affects the function of your red blood cells. Two common types of anaemia are iron deficiency anaemia and folate deficiency anaemia. Both of these disorders are most commonly caused by the lack of either iron or folate in your blood. Your body requires iron to produce haemoglobin which is responsible for taking the oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body and folate to produce red blood cells.
.

Treatment of these types of anaemia is typically in the form of iron and folate supplements. Symptoms include feeling breathless and fatigue as your body is not able to carry sufficient oxygen throughout your body.
.

Inherited red cell disorders are disorders that are passed down genetically. Two common types of inherited red cell disorders are sickle cell disease and thalassemia.
.

A genetic mutation causes thalassemia, and these mutations hinder the normal production of haemoglobin in the body. As mentioned, without sufficient haemoglobin, oxygen is unable to be transported to the rest of the body. Without enough oxygen, your organs will not be able to function well. This can result in conditions such as an enlarged spleen, heart issues, bone deformities, and both developmental and growth delays in children.
.

Treatment for thalassemia is generally blood transfusions and folic supplements. A stem cell transplant may also be recommended in some severe forms of thalassemia.
.

Sickle cell disease refers to a group of red blood cell disorders that are inherited. Healthy red blood cells are rounded and disk-shaped. If someone has sickle cell disease, their red blood cells are C-shaped, hard, and sticky. They are unable to carry oxygen properly and can often clog the blood flow. This can result in strokes, acute chest syndrome, and infections. Treatment for sickle cell disease varies and depends highly on the symptoms of the patient.
.

Haemochromatosis is another inherited blood disorder. In haemochromatosis, iron levels in the body build up slowly – this is also known as iron overload. This can damage various organs and joints in the body.
.

While there is no cure for haemochromatosis, there are treatments available to help manage the condition. These include procedures to remove some of your blood (venesection) and drugs to reduce the iron in your body (chelation therapy).
.

Additionally, our doctor may advise that you alter your diet to avoid foods supplemented with iron and drinking alcohol.
.

Polycythaemia is a condition where there is a high concentration of red blood cells in the blood. This causes the blood to become thick and viscous which means it is less able to travel around the body. Symptoms of polycythaemia including headaches, blurred vision, red skin are caused by the sluggish blood flow. Polycythaemia can cause blood clots such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE) and can be life threatening.
.

Polycythaemia can be diagnosed on blood tests by looking at the number of red blood cells in your blood (haemoglobin) and the concentration of red blood cells (haematocrit). Genetic tests for the JAK2 gene may also be done as mutations in this gene can cause a condition known as polycythaemia vera (PV).
.

Treatment for polycythaemia aims to prevent symptoms and complications. These include venesection which involves removing about 0.5 litres of blood from the body similar to the procedure used during blood donation. This is the fastest way to reduce the number of red blood cells in the body. Medication may also be given such as hydroxycarbamide or interferon.
.

Your white blood cells play a vital role in your immune system. You have five main types of white blood cells; they are neutrophils, lymphocytes, eosinophils, monocytes, and basophils. Some white blood cell disorders involve all the different types of white blood cells in the blood, while other disorders only involve one or two specific types. The most commonly affected white cells are neutrophils and lymphocytes.
.

Doctors can check your white blood cell counts through a blood test. If your white blood cell counts are abnormal, either high or low, they could be an indicator of various blood disorders.
.

Some symptoms of an abnormal white blood cell count generally are fever, chills, headaches, and body aches. These symptoms are caused by the underlying condition that is causing the abnormal blood cell count.
.

An abnormal blood cell count could be related to several things, such as:

  • HIV or Autoimmune Disorders
  • Lymphoma
  • Lupus
  • Severe Infections
  • Liver or Spleen Diseases
  • Bone Marrow Disorders
  • Bone Marrow Damage
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Certain Drugs
  • Stress
  • Inflammatory Conditions
  • Tissue Damage
  • Exercise
  • Allergies
  • Pregnancy
  • Asthma
  • Leukaemia

.

Platelet Disorders
Your platelets are responsible for the prevention of excessive bleeding should you be injured or suffer from a cut. Platelet disorders can occur when there are not enough platelets, too many platelets or when the platelets do not clot properly.
..

Too few platelets such as in ITP can mean that even a superficial injury results in exceeding bleeding. Conversely, too many platelets can result in blood clots, pulmonary embolism, deep venous thrombosis or blockages in major arteries that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
.

When platelets do not clot properly, this can lead to excessive blood loss and conditions such as haemophilia. Haemophilia is one of the most common blood clotting disorders. It is typically found in men, and can result in internal or external bleeding.
.

Another disorder where platelets cannot clot well is Von Willebrand disease. This disorder occurs because the body lacks von Willebrand factor (VWF) which is required for platelets to stick together and form clots. The majority of cases are relatively mild, and people may only need treatment if they are injured or require surgery.
.

.

Disclaimer:
The information on the Centre For Clinical Haematology website is intended for educational use.  It should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health professional.

    Contact Us

Locations

Contact

Consultation Hours

Monday to Friday : 8.30am – 5.30pm
Saturday : 8.30am – 12.30pm
Closed on Sunday & Public Holidays

Find us on Facebook

Drop a Line

Contact Us

If you have any questions about your condition or would like to make an appointment, simply fill up the form and we'll contact you as soon as we can

© Centre for Clinical Haematology | 2021