Blood Disorders

Also known as: blood conditions, bleeding disorders, anemia, blood cancers

What are blood disorders?

The term blood disorder refers to any type of acute or chronic medical condition that affects any one of the three main parts of the body’s blood (red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets) or the plasma (the fluid part of blood). As there are a very large number of conditions, these illnesses can present in a variety of different ways, ranging from anemia to bleeding disorders like hemophilia or blood clots, and even blood cancers like lymphoma or leukemia.

What causes blood disorders?

There are multiple causes, depending on the type of blood problem. In many cases, blood disorders are genetic and passed along from parents to their children. Certain medications or diseases can also lead to blood disorders. In addition, people can develop blood disorders if their diet is lacking in certain nutrients, such as iron.

What are the symptoms of blood disorders?

Symptoms of blood disorders can vary widely depending on the nature of the illness, and what component of the blood is impacted. For many disorders, weakness, fatigue or shortness of breath are common symptoms. If decreased white blood cells are present, the person may get more frequent infections. Trouble with bleeding and bruising can occur with clotting disorders. Headaches and dizziness are other issues that occur sometimes with blood disorders.

What are blood disorders care options?

Treatments depend on the underlying diagnosis, whether  the problem is acute or chronic, and may include for example medications for clotting problems, supplements to help with anemia or vitamin deficiencies and cancer treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy or bone marrow transplants.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 10/31/2017 11:52:00 AM

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