Information for Patients
Your blood is living tissue made up of liquid and solids. The liquid part, called plasma, is made of water, salts and protein. Over half of your blood is plasma. The solid part of your blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Blood disorders affect one or more parts of the blood and prevent your blood from doing its job. They can be acute or chronic. Many blood disorders are inherited. Other causes include other diseases, side effects of medicines, and a lack of certain nutrients in your diet.
Types of blood disorders include
- Platelet disorders, excessive clotting, and bleeding problems, which affect how your blood clots
- Anemia, which happens when your blood does not carry enough oxygen to the rest of your body
- Cancers of the blood, such as leukemia and myeloma
- Eosinophilic disorders, which are problems with one type of white blood cell.
Jaundice causes your skin and the whites of your eyes to turn yellow. Too much bilirubin causes jaundice. Bilirubin is a yellow chemical in hemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. As red blood cells break down, your body builds new cells to replace them. The old ones are processed by the liver. If the liver cannot handle the blood cells as they break down, bilirubin builds up in the body and your skin may look yellow.
Many healthy babies have some jaundice during the first week of life. It usually goes away. However, jaundice can happen at any age and may be a sign of a problem. Jaundice can happen for many reasons, such as
- Blood diseases
- Genetic syndromes
- Liver diseases, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis
- Blockage of bile ducts