Information for Patients
Aplastic anemia is a rare but serious blood disorder. If you have it, your bone marrow doesn't make enough new blood cells. There are different types, including Fanconi anemia. Causes include
- Toxic substances, such as pesticides, arsenic, and benzene
- Radiation therapy and chemotherapy for cancer
- Certain medicines
- Infections such as hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus, or HIV
- Autoimmune disorders
- Certain inherited conditions
In many people, the cause is unknown.
Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and shortness of breath. It can cause heart problems such as an irregular heartbeat, an enlarged heart, and heart failure. You may also have frequent infections and bleeding.
Your doctor will diagnose aplastic anemia based on your medical and family histories, a physical exam, and test results. Once your doctor knows the cause and severity of the condition, he or she can create a treatment plan for you. Treatments include blood transfusions, blood and marrow stem cell transplants, and medicines.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Bone Marrow Diseases
Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside some of your bones, such as your hip and thigh bones. It contains stem cells. The stem cells can develop into the red blood cells that carry oxygen through your body, the white blood cells that fight infections, and the platelets that help with blood clotting.
With bone marrow disease, there are problems with the stem cells or how they develop:
- In leukemia, a cancer of the blood, the bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells
- In aplastic anemia, the bone marrow doesn't make red blood cells
- In myeloproliferative disorders, the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells
- Other diseases, such as lymphoma, can spread into the bone marrow and affect the production of blood cells
Causes of bone marrow diseases include genetics and environmental factors. Tests for bone marrow diseases include blood and bone marrow tests. Treatments depend on the disorder and how severe it is. They might involve medicines, blood transfusions or a bone marrow transplant.