What are blood diseases?
Blood diseases are defined as all diseases of the plasma and blood components, i.e. red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. They are classified according to the element affected and the causes.
- Diseases affecting red blood cells cause red blood cells to increase or decrease.
- Diseases affecting the white blood cells cause an alteration in the amount produced.
- Diseases affecting platelets cause an alteration in their number or shape, causing clotting problems.
- Diseases affecting plasma cause clotting problems and bleeding.
The causes of the appearance of blood diseases can be:
- dietary deficiencies
- derived from secondary treatments or pathologies
Symptoms of blood diseases
Symptoms may vary depending on the type of disease. Some examples are pallor and tiredness (red blood cell diseases), fever, itching and swelling of the lymph nodes and spleen (white blood cell diseases), thrombus and clot formation or appearance of skin spots (platelet diseases).
Clinical analysis and complete blood count are the best tests for detecting abnormalities and diseases in the blood.
Diagnosis of blood diseases
The most common test for blood disorders is a blood draw with a complete blood count, followed by more extensive tests in case of abnormal results, such as reticulocyte count, coagulation test, protein measurement, bone marrow examination and a number of specific blood cell tests.
Treatments for blood diseases
As with symptoms, treatments for blood diseases change depending on the type of disease. Examples include vitamin B12 and iron supplementation for pernicious anemia, drug treatments, blood transfusions and bone marrow transplantation for thalassemia, biologic drugs, chemotherapy and immunotherapy for myeloma.
Which specialist to contact?
In case of blood diseases, a hematology specialist should be consulted.